The sky's heartbeat
The two suns, Aza and Sao, eclipse each other from the planet's perspective every 20 days. These eclipses alternate between Greater and Lesser forms; a Greater eclipse is when Aza is in front (completely covering Sao), and a Lesser eclipse is when Sao is in front (only partially covering Aza).
There are 16 eclipses every calendar year, exactly. The vast majority of cultures use this natural clock to define the months in the year.
The suns' 20-day cycle has 4 stages:
- Apex: Day during which the suns are as far apart as possible; the opposite of an eclipse
- Approach: 9-day period during which the suns move closer and closer together
- Eclipse: Day during which the suns are perfectly on top of each other
- Retreat: 9-day period during which the suns move further and further apart
The eclipse phase is the most obvious. Lesser eclipses look like a day that is in perpetual sunset, while Greater eclipses look like a day that is in perpetual twilight. Stars can sometimes be spotted in the right conditions during Greater eclipses. Average surface temperatures are also noticably cooler. In the summer, an eclipse day is a welcome relief. In the winter, it's a different story.
Could it be possible for one of the moons to eclipse the suns while they are already eclipsing each other? Such an event is known as a Black Eclipse, and while they are possible, the chances witnessing one are next to nil.
It has happened, though, if ancient paintings and writings are to be believed. Ruins in the northeast of Sanoris contain murals depicting such an event. In them, Nox is shown completely overtaking both suns, plunging the world into a night-like darkness. The murals also contain images of horrible monsters that match no extant species in the area.
There are no records of a Black Eclipse yet discovered in Auzera, but the concept still exists in religious customs. Sariah the Claimed famously prophesied that a Black Eclipse would pass over Azhavin within the next 2000 years.
The eclipses are used to mark the starting or ending dates of almost every popular calendar across both continents. They are also the dates of countless holidays.
"Eclipse in summer, traveller's blessing. Eclipse in winter, traveller's curse."
Whether a culture views the eclipses positively or negatively usually correlates with their home climate. People who live in the hotter climates of Auzera tend to look forward to eclipses, whereas people that live in the frozen north of Sanoris tend to dread them. This isn't a hard rule, though. Primarily human cultures tend to look forward to eclipses, as the lessened solar Aura interference makes it easier to access lunar Aura.
People aren't the only animals that count time with the suns. A vast variety of flora and fauna have biological cycles that align with the eclipses. Animals that are normally nocturnal may leave their burrows during Greater eclipses. Solar-aligned sky rays will establish truces between opposing flocks and land together during an eclipse for protection. Certain species of bioluminescent plants glow only during eclipses, making themselves more obvious to possible pollinators.
In addition to the wildlife, the physical terrain experiences changes during eclipses. Monoliths and floating islands that are aligned to the suns have more noticeable drops in their altitudes following eclipses. Small monoliths shards or floating boulders may even fall from the sky entirely.
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