Nomads of Mercury · Solaris Wiki | World Anvil

Nomads of Mercury

Welcome to Solaris, traveller! This is a slower-than-light science fantasy set in our own solar system.
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In the harsh extremes of Mercury, the nomadic people have always lived on the edge. The traditional migration patterns of the terminator nomads made them uniquely suited to adapt to life after the Scorching of Mercury, allowing them to avoid of the intense temperatures of night and day.   Most Mercurian nomads are Kara, a hardier Humanoid Keras. There are some Humans among their ranks, and a few Mori. Unlike the Kara and Mori, Humans are not native to Mercury. Many Humans fell through the cracks of the immigration system over the centuries, and were taken in by nomadic groups.   While most of the population of Mercury fled the planet, the majority of Mercurian nomads remained. Today they share the planet with the Defenders of Mercury managed by the Interplanetary Solar Defence Council and a few scattered undergound factories. The terminator nomads now have the honor of speaking for the planet and being heard. While nomads are now present at negotiations, they still find the final decisions are not theirs to make.   Relations between the nomads and the other occupants the planet have been strained as of late. The nomads feel that the ISDC and the factories do not adequately consider the enviromental impact of their action and extractions. The relationship is particularly tense with the Borealis Ice Mining company. Several nomad groups have attempted to appeal to the ISDC with claims that BIM is mining outside of their permit areas and illegally exporting Mercurian ice, but little has come of it.  


  For as far as Mercurian memory goes back, the nomadic people have walked along the terminator of the planet, always remaining in pleasant twilight. Now that the twilight is the only part that can sustain surface-side life, these skills and practices have become a necessity. The Interplanetary Solar Defence Council took note of this, and learned from indigenous knowledge when founding their mobile military base Penumbra.   In return for their expertise, some nomadic groups were able to secure rovers to help them with transportation of goods. Being able to carry more has helped these groups survive as more of the land turns barren and sunbleached. For the groups without rovers, their Walker livestock has had to pull double duty as beasts of burden.   Walkers have long been a key part of nomadic life. They provide food with their eggs, and shelter with their tall frames. Despite their giant size, they are surprisingly delicate. A poorly balanced or too heavy load can cause severe damage to the creatures. Most nomads prefer to be safe rather than sorry. They revere their animals, and it is through their care that the walkers remain on Mercury to this day, as most wild walkers perished during the Scorching.   Among the nomadic groups at the equator, the Walkers are traditionally accompanied by polewalkers. Polewalkers serve both the role of herders and of scouts. They walk on tall stilts, with a larger pole for balance, which allow them to wade through shallow waters, and also provides them with additional height. Not only does the height help them see further and scout ahead, but it also makes the polewalkers more visible to their fellow travellers.


The nomads trade with Penumbra and the underground factories that remain in operation. In exchange for staple grains and water, the nomads provide harvested salt, traditional medicine, and other crafted goods. A few nomadic groups also provide goods scavenged from the Iron Spires.   Some nomads have turned to raiding, attacking convoys of iceminers or food supplies. In response Borealis Ice Mining has repurposed some of their mining lasers for defense. There's been no confirmed reports of nomads raiding a factory, though the fear that it might happen has lead some factories to improvise armaments and include militia drills as part of employee duties.

Trade Goods

Traditional Medicine
Crafted Goods
Scavenged Treasures
Conventional Medicine

Life in the tents

Very few nomadic groups remain on foot constantly. Most of them travel to the edge of night, where it is just warm enough to set up tents. These nomads set up camp for a week or so, taking their tents down when the heat of dawn claims the region a few days later.   The most presitigious tents among the nomads are those draped around the Walkers. Each Walker is claimed by a specific family, and a proud part of their family heritage. To use the creatures as tents, tarps are draped along their bodies. The Walkers are then safely and harmlessly immobilized by burning insence underneath them. The smoke puts them into a cataleptic state, a defense mechanism used by the creatures to survive the day heat.   Since the Scorching, some nomads have taken to scavenging the ruined cities and Iron Spires. The abandoned buildings contain a plethora of valuable finds like technology, keepsakes, raw materials, and perhaps most useful, shelf-stable provisions. The younger scavengers have taken to the art of scrapping, specializing into several roles such as ensuring buildings are stable, safely removing rubble, and disassembling technology to get at the light and expensive crystals contained within.
Iron Spires
Iron Spires by Annie Stein

Finding Food

With the extreme loss of atmosphere and subsequent destruction of most ecosystems, the land has not been able to fully sustain the nomads. In the past, the nomads would harvest grains and roots, but very little has survived the dual threat of burning and freezing. The nomads are caught between harvesting for survival today, or in ways that can protect and secure future yields as well. Most nomads have found themselves needing to trade for staple grain to bulk out their meals.   Additionally, many of the staples the nomads rely on to get themselves through times of pestilence or famine, like bark and wood pulp, are not digestible by Humans. Some groups try to ration food, while others encourage their Human family members to break off from the group and seek transportation off the planet. A former nomad, Roseah, has set up a travelling bar that tags along with Penumbra. Roseah is known to help nomads get them in touch with ships and earn enough money to safely make it off planet.

Related Articles

Nomads of Mercury
Humanoids Kara ( Majority ) · Human · Mori
Characters Roseah
Livestock Walker
Society Traditions ( Still Sun ) · Cuisine of the Mercurian Nomads ( Halobate Salt )
Haaniella Eggs
Potter Eggs by Annie Stein
Notice: This article is a stub. If you'd like to see this article expanded, please leave a comment!

Cover image: Nomads of Mercury by Annie Stein


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Dec 1, 2023 21:48

Walkers are adorable. Would pet 100%. I quite like the idea of polewalkers. Also the lil snack doodles are especially charming!

Dec 1, 2023 21:51 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much! I think they'd like a little scritch. I think stilts are a classic in cool worldbuilding, so it was fun to get to work them in here and draw them.

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Dec 1, 2023 22:12 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love the header, it's beautiful. And the food doodles! :D   This is such an interesting group of people. I like that it's made up of different species, and I especially love the walkers.

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Dec 2, 2023 08:29 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much! I was really happy with how the header turned out.

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Dec 1, 2023 22:26 by Emily Armstrong

Such a cool article! Really like the polewalkers, that's such a sick concept and the art pulls it together so beautifully. I'm really digging the Walker tent, too! Love it, and happy WorldEmber!!

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Dec 2, 2023 08:30 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much! They were so fun to draw! Happy WorldEmber to you too!

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Dec 2, 2023 00:39

Walker tents, such a nice idea. And you made me hungry and craving to taste their snacks. >.<

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Dec 2, 2023 08:31 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I wrote about it a bit in the Walker article, ever since I learned some stick insects go into a cataplectic state I was like huh, I could use that! And why not take a trip to Mercury and try it out? It's only in the middle of massive ecological collapse!

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Dec 2, 2023 10:40

I always loved the idea of a society existing in the twilight zone of a planet. It's such an interesting concept. Also, walker tents are just a really nice idea. :D

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Dec 2, 2023 10:43 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I agree, I think Mercury lends itself very naturally to some cool worldbuilding.

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Dec 2, 2023 10:50 by Keon Croucher

What I love here is I don't see any one influence, yet can see the influence and understanding of nomadic cultures in general, however you were able to take the unique environment and its challenges and make them something entirely unique whilst still having bits of what we would recognize. I cannot tell clearly any one culture that was an influence (like Mongols, Native Americans, etc etc, there is no one influence that stands out) yet this is well written and thought out to see shades of various bits that draw upon our understanding of nomadic peoples. You put together a fantastic piece here and I find these people quite interesting and would love to learn more about them, well done :)

Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization
Dec 2, 2023 11:04 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I'd love to revisit this article down the line and flesh it out with more information about what the differences between individual groups are, as well as naming a couple of them. I'm glad it can be evocative without feeling like straight up transplanting one of the cultures here on earth into space.

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Dec 2, 2023 20:15

Oh my goodness. This piece is so beautiful and well written. Thank you.

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Dec 2, 2023 20:21 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much!

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Dec 2, 2023 20:17 by Olarae & Astaroth Arcaine

Ah I love this article so much! you've created such a vivid and immersive world on Mercury already!   The details about the nomads' tents, their reliance on walkers, and all the hand drawn artwork really add a wonderful depth to the details! I can't wait to read more from you this world ember! ^^

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Dec 2, 2023 20:22 by Annie Stein

Ahh thank you! That's so nice to hear!

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Dec 3, 2023 21:11 by Jared Richardson-Rushin

I love the inclusion of the Walkers as a determination of prestige. They are very cute (thank you for the art ha) and I love the utility they bring. I also am curious to learn more about ISDC's response to the nomads possible raiding of Penumbra.

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Dec 6, 2023 10:36 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I think they're cute too.   So far the Nomads haven't made much headway with the ISDC, and since Mercury is the site of the story I want to write I can't say much more without possibly getting into spoiler territory. I'm glad it's an intriguing set up!

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Dec 6, 2023 11:54 by Angantyr

I love it how you incorporated the idea of using the uniqueness of Mercury's long day and the terminator to make the Nomads and their tradition stand out.   The introduction gives a very neat bird's eye view of their current situation, along with the ice mining problem. Which makes me curious as to what are the special traits of the Mercurian Ice? It definitely sounds as something of Sól System value, if the mining companies try to hog it and expand outside their contracted land (or so the rumours go).   The Walkers are a gem! They remind me of Medauroidea and the creatures from "Starship troopers" 1997 movie (the legs in particular), which adds a bit of nostalgia to it.   Where did the Nomads come from? Are they the remnants of the Iron Spire builders?   Thanks for a wonderful morning read!

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Dec 6, 2023 12:09 by Annie Stein

Thank you! The ice in Mercury doesn't have any unique properties, although ice is less common overall among the inner planets. I think it's less that Mercurian ice is special, and more so that the Borealis Ice Mining company saw something they thought they could get away with.   The nomads are indigenous to Mercury, especially the Kara and Mori. Even the humans have been part of the nomads for generations, with most of them predating the construction of the Iron Spires.

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Dec 11, 2023 16:28 by Reanna R

Ooh, what a wonderful article! Life as a nomad seems hard, but I love all the ways they've adapted - and the Walkers are definitely a bonus.

May your worldbuilding hammer always fall true! Also, check out the world of the Skydwellers for lots of aerial adventures.
Dec 12, 2023 12:42 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much!

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Dec 11, 2023 23:48 by Eric

Nomad rep!   The walkers-as-tent-supports are fascinating, and I'm interested in the brewing conflict between the nomads and those who are (more blatantly) exploiting the planet's resources.

Dec 12, 2023 12:43 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I'm glad it sets up some good conflict.

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Dec 13, 2023 03:58 by Aster Blackwell

I cannot imagine how despairing it would be to witness the path your people walked for generations turn to rubble and glass. I imagine most if not all nomads struggle with grief and survivor's guilt. I suppose they keep hope that maybe one day Mercury could be restored, but the future seems grim.

Dec 17, 2023 12:46 by Annie Stein

Yeah, they have to confront it, where the refugees can distract themselves and try focus on other things. I think some of them would say the enviromental destruction began long before the Scorching. I don't think it's all gloom, in a way they're now the stewards of the land, and they're being heard in ways they weren't before, even if it isn't quite taken to heart now either.

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Jan 1, 2024 00:36

Interesting article about adaption to extreme climates. The idea of Walkers and tents is also very cool

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Jan 1, 2024 10:13 by Annie Stein

Thank you!

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Jan 3, 2024 23:37 by Mardrena Lockehart

Not only is the artwork awesome but the layout reminds me of a old RPG book I saw once years ago I missed a chance to get a copy at a HPB and looking it up online its apparently incredibly rare and out of print sadly. RPGs aren't my cup of tea at all but the stories woven through them are what interested me.

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Jan 5, 2024 09:37 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much! I hope you can find your white whale of a rpg book eventually!

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Jan 5, 2024 01:27 by Devin

I'm with everyone else it seems...enjoyed learning about the ethnicity itself, but stayed for the Walkers! They're oddly charming, for giant insects! A lovely read.

Jan 5, 2024 09:38 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I adore the Walkers too, they were one of the first ideas I had for Mercury.

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Jan 9, 2024 20:40 by Chris L

I've been holding off on reading this until I start judging and it's such a treat to finally see what everyone else has been gushing about. Very cool (or warm) worldbuilding and as always I love all the little details. You've really thought through what it would be like to constantly live in the terminator region!

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Jan 9, 2024 21:11 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much, ahh, that means a lot to hear! Best of luck with your judging!

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Jan 24, 2024 19:04 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Yes, attack these ice mining people! They should respect the law and environment >:(   I love the little details of the nomads' life :D

To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
Jan 25, 2024 11:48 by Annie Stein

>:D take them out!   Thank you!

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Jan 26, 2024 14:59

As always, the art of your articles is really pretty. And as others have said, nomadic people traveling across the twilight zone of the planet are a wonderful and creative idea.   Good job and keep on creating amazing things!

Jan 27, 2024 08:52 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much!

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