Northern Ring Glacier
Walls of ice to dwarf even Bainshaebo... In the earliest days, aboriginal humans gave the northernmost reaches of the world a wide berth due to lack of game and the hostile weather. When the Solar Swap turned the climate upside down, the primitive Freelanders at the time took refuge in calcite caves nestled within the glacier. Five thousand years later with the firm establishment of Bainshaebo and the Thangien people, the restless explorer Deres would map the length and breadth of the great river, eventually following it all the way to the very roof of the world. The colossal wall of ice looked imposing on its own, but Deres knew a secret must lie within. At great risk to his life, he scaled the sheer cliffs, not knowing of the discovery that await him on the other side, a discovery which would surpass all of his previous achievements combined.
The glacier is thought to consist of 40% rock and 60% ice, containing nearly a third of all water available on the planet. While there is no significant tectonic shift aside from the mountains found in the Eastern Jungle, upheaval from the Basek de Rhakka volcanic complex pushes up the crust in a knot before roiling outward, adding to the "ring" over eons. The base interior is littered with calcite caves formed both from ice melt and thermal activity.
No animals call the glacier home, preferring the more temperate climes found in the south. Any plant life consists of hardy scrubs, brambles, and lichen. For whatever reason, coniferous trees do not like Thanged's soil and have never taken root.
During the flood season, increased glacial melt results in frequent floods along the river bank. The storm season disgorges front after front, forming the spectacular caevas storms that rake across Kundain and the Eastern Jungle. It was recorded during the most recent Solar Swap over eight thousand years ago that the glacier melted almost entirely while the suns competed in the heavens before seeing an explosion of growth as the Suns slunk back to their rightful places.
Solar storms are able to be glimpsed over the rim of the glacier and steam caused by volcanic activity on the other side obscures the summit.
Fauna & Flora
Assorted lichens can be found on exposed rock and are sometimes harvested to produce dyes, but even tree bears with their thick rolls of fat and fur do not like the Northern Ring. To date no fossil record has been found of any recognizable life form-avian or mammalian-calling the glacier home.
OreAbundant. Aside from the Basek de Rhakka, the Northern Ring is the second largest concentration of dererium.
MineralsVery Abundant. Other valuable substances can be found either as raw stone or in geode form.
OilNegligible. The Northern Ring has never supported a lush-enough environment in the past to facilitate formation of crude.
SulfurModerate. Deposits in crystalline form have been found in the myriad calcite caves.
Precious & Semiprecious GemsLimited. Found either in geodes or through panning the Winding White at the source.
BiomassVery Poor. Only lichen and stunted bushes call the glacier home. Neither are suited for consumption.
HardwoodsNegligible. Whether coniferous trees grew in the past remains unknown but they do not exist today.
StoneVery Abundant. It is possible to find metamorphic rock in the Northern Ring but transportation is tricky.
WaterVery Abundant. Contrary to popular myth, a sizable chunk of Thanged's water is locked within the glacier.
The Celestial Brothers and Thangor's RevengeOver ten-thousand years ago, aboriginal humans-newly displaced through Transgalactic Rifts- struggled to find their footing on a strange world, unable to find their way home. Resigned to eking out an existence in this alien environment, they first wandered the seemingly endless plains. Oral tradition holds that the largest community was led by two brothers: Thangor and Thuruk. Thuruk tired of his brother's overly-cautious nature and slew him in a fit of rage. He determined that the people would establish themselves in crude settlements along the mighty river where there was plenty of fish, game, and vegetation to supply them. As monument to his fallen brother, he dubbed the planet Thanged and named the Twin Suns after himself. All seemed good as the people entrenched themselves on the river banks. A scant few preferred to continue roaming the plains as they always had. For the next two thousand years as the people prospered and grew until one day the weather started to change. The ancient people noticed the Twin Suns behaving erratically. Rain tore across the plain and beat against their shelters relentlessly. The water turned vile and wildlife broke into a panic. Many perished either from sickness wafting through the air or drinking contaminated water. The roaming Freelanders sought refuge further north, driving what few herds they could and finding shelter in the great glacier. With much difficulty, they were able to weather the violent climate using ice melt to provide drinkable water and dispatching hunters onto the plain to find what game they could. The people viewed this as divine retribution from Thangor, claiming he wrestled with his brother Thuruk to usurp the heavens. Eventually the Twin Suns returned to their proper position, and the world seemed greatly changed. The rains had stopped but violent snow storms ravaged the land. The people hunkered in their caves for many centuries until the ice slowly receded and the land became as it was before.
Deres and the Northern RingNow calling themselves Thangiens and under the watchful care of the mysterious Four Queens the Freelanders had met as they returned to the plain, the people of Thanged dwelt in a fantastic city begun in ancient days and only recently reaching completion. At an age when most men would be seeking the hand of a beautiful maid, the young Deres took it upon himself to venture out and retread the paths walked by the ancient Freelanders and find what they may have overlooked in ages past. His great tour of the land would eventually take him north along the banks of the river he dubbed the Winding White. Following the river all the way to its source, he came upon a colossal wall of rock and ice that looked like it could fit dozens, if not hundreds of Bainshaebos within its confines. He walked to the West then the East and it seemed as if the glacier had no end. Suspecting it covered the entirety of the Northern pole, he christened it the Northern Ring Glacier. After weeks of poking and prodding, rediscovering the ancient calcite caves the Freelanders had taken shelter in millennia prior, Deres determined to scale the glacier and find out if it indeed held nothing but solid ice and rock, or if something more intriguing lay behind.
The Wardens and the Genesis PlagueDespite creating a prosperous civilization for themselves, a scant few felt discontent at the world and desired ever more, and it only takes a handful of wicked souls to inflict untold misery. Queen Payina of the House of St'lur craved eternal youth and tasked her personal physician Sening with curing death itself. His reckless tinkering with biology and genetics resulted in the Genesis Plague: a horrific contagion that drove victims mad and made them appear as diseased shambling corpses before eventually reverting to normal. This period took an indeterminate amount of time, anywhere from weeks to months to even years, but it only took a single scratch to pass on the infection and perpetuate the cycle. King Wuelro executed his mad mother and ordered construction of vast sanitariums in the ancient caves mapped by Deres thousands of years ago. Eyurodin, Lady of Flames, provided those brave enough with full-body armor made of dererium-the miraculous metal- in order to protect the wearers from harm. Dubbed Wardens, these individuals rounded up plague victims and secured them within the Northern Ring. Because of the violent fits caused by infection, the Wardens had to construct an additional system of hanging harnesses, rails, and pulleys. Victims were secured with harnesses and their arms and legs chopped off to prevent them from attacking those newly recovered. Though their bodies would fully regenerate once the sickness had run its course, the experience proved disconcerting nonetheless. After nearly thirty years, the last of the plague victims had fully recovered. Wuelro decommissioned the sanitariums and the Wardens retired to Bainshaebo, where their armor would not see use for another two thousand years. The caverns have lain abandoned ever since and the rusting rails and decaying harnesses remain, mute testament to the nightmare endured by the Thangien people.
Pecagorns Reborn: Dawn of the PegasiIn coordination with Mazzan and the Traedeskaton, Eyurodin, Goddess of the Forge, labored extensively to save the dying pegacorn populations from the contagion unleashed by Mal Daggur. Her efforts produced Paigasurin, the first of the newly-constructed Pegasi, and even after Mal Daggur's agents targeted him and forced Roth to send him into exile, many more Pegasi were constructed in the time afterward. In the cycle after the departure of Pegasus and Danae, enough of the pegacorns had been converted into Pegasi to restore the population of steeds for the Thangien people. Their new dererium bodies required additional supplies of metal not just to sustain themselves but replenish the armaments of their war saddles. In the past, gatherers had traveled to the Northern Ring either on foot or in great caravans to secure fresh supplies of ore for Peirolyth. With the Pegasi's new capabilities, riders could now travel to the glacier with ease and Pegasi sensors could detect high-grade ore quickly. This kept both the forges of Peirolyth and the hungry Pegasi sated. The Northern Ring sees more travel now than ever before, but the wary Thangiens still give the ancient caves a wide berth except on those rare occasions where youths dare each other to venture within.
With Deres' discovery of dererium and use of pegacorns and much later the advent of Pegasi, Thangiens frequently visit the mouth of the Winding White to pan for ore and the Basek de Rhakka to harvest larger quantities. Roth's Edict prohibits use of machinery or excavation, so harvesting resources requires significant manpower. Metal is always in high demand at the academy of Peirolyth and Eyurodin rewards well those who provide ore.
“What’s that she’s saying? That word she keeps repeating…” Sage whispered. “Deres, the Father of Metal. Kinda like a patron saint of metalworkers. He’s credited with discovering naturally-occurring dererium in Thanged’s polar caps,” Rowen explained.
“Long ago, when men first came to Thanged, before we met the Queens, the nomadic tribes were ruled by two brothers. One was strong, but a poor leader, and the younger weak, but very cunning. They were supposed to share in power, but after a time, the elder brother grew resentful and slew the younger. He proclaimed himself king, and named the suns after himself. “The spirit of the elder brother took up residence in the central star, and the younger sought refuge in the lesser. Eventually it came to pass that the younger brother wrest control from his elder, usurping his position and ruling the system, if only for a time. He exacted vengeance in the form of a terrible sickness upon the complacent and wicked who dwelt in their settlements and abused the bounty of the land. Only the Freelanders escaped judgment, and when the elder brother reclaimed his domain, the younger unleashed a chilling wrath before retreating."-Chi Chi Lina, Yainae
“Ahh, but Deres was born to solve problems! He designed the irrigation systems for Bainshaebo. He charted the weather patterns that would cause caevas to extend from the sky and rake across the forest like claws, tearing apart everything in their path…” “You mean tornadoes!” Edward sat bolt upright and swung his legs to the side to face Bau. “Yes!” Bau nodded and continued. “And that is how Thangiens find wood. He discovered sources of oil in sulfur springs, and Gual de Phu Alcu: the Lake of Glittering Stones where polished gems are found. He mapped the shores of the Winding White, Thanged’s great glacial river, but his crowning achievement came when he followed the river to its source all the way to Thanged’s northern pole."
“The only large bodies of water Thanged has are rivers and lakes such as the Winding White and the lake housing the tomb of Danaetanera III. The river starts out from glacial melt at the Northern Ring Glacier and runs all the way into the southern hemisphere where it ends in massive salt marshes believed to be the remains of Thanged’s oceans,” Rowen explained.