Cetna/The Pale Eye

Pale Eye's haunted
— The only note about Tairos' moon in Digby Sparrow's mad scribblings
 
Civilizations reaching back to the very genesis of language itself have shared stories about the mysteries of the night sky and no topic was more well-tread than that of Tairos' moon - Cetna.
 
The origin of the name itself is just one of the many puzzles without a solution that surround the celestial object. The name itself seems to have roots in some of the tribal dialects of early elves but its exact meaning is lost to time. It's possible the Drekh may know, as they've adopted the old tongue as their own but for most of them the idea of the moon is deeply foreign. The other name the moon is known by is The Pale Eye, a term found in Human dialects all across the continent and dating back to the conquests of The Empire of Skyrir. Their term for the orbiting satellite invaded the language of all their lands their armies touched, as did much of their vocabulary. It's likely that much of today's Common Tongue is a mishmash of old human tribal dialects knitted together with the speech of their ancient conquerers, the Skyrirans.
 
In addition to the mysteries surrounding the moon's name there are many others that plague scholars to this very day. Before the disaster wrought by the The Queen's Rebuke many institutes of higher learning existed and in most of them could be found astronomers and astromancers who dedicated their studies to the object. With their magics and telescopes they were able to crudely map part of its surface. It's a jagged landscape of dead volcanoes, ancient pyroclastic flows, vast lakes of black glass, and monolithic peaks formed by some primordial cataclysm. Hidden in the shadowy valleys of one of those peaks are dust-covered shapes that don't match the tattered shapes of other structures nearby. To some; they're just a product of the random chaos that shaped the moon but to a select few on the fringes of academia these represent a different possibility. Evidence of life having once existed above Tairos.
 
Today, study of the moon has long since fallen to the way side, replaced by more practical academic pursuits in most universities. Human scholars who made a career of celestial cartography are long dead, and even among the elves of Melanthris such subjects are considered antiquated or out of fashion. Only a rare few lone fanatics continue to chase such knowledge and the resources they have at their disposal to do so are pitifully few. The magics used in those bygone days has been lost as has the means of constructing telescopes powerful enough to observe the heavens.

Geography

Airless wasteland covered in extremely sharp volcanic glass protrusions, tall mountains, and obsidian lakes. Everything is covered in a fine layer of clingy grey-white dust. There are some craters as well that result from other celestial objects slamming into the surface from time to time. When such events do occur they often eject tons of black glass into high orbit before eventually falling back to the surface as razor sharp rain

Ecosystem

None known. It is believed to be a lifeless rock with a now-dormant geothermal interior

Localized Phenomena

Volcanic glass showers are a semi-regular occurrence as ejected material falls back to the surface. Recent impacts can also cause dust clouds to briefly envelop great portions of the surface. Due to the very weak gravity of the moon both of these phenomena take a considerable time to settle. These would leave observes walking through something akin to a dust fog or watching the black-glass rain fall with the same haste as dandelion tufts dropping on a windless day. The reason both do not drop straight to the surface is from the mild resistance of toxic fumes outgassing from the cooling rock. These fumes provide an extremely limited form of atmosphere that the moon struggles to retain and that would strangle any living thing willing to take a breath.

Natural Resources

Though unverified some astromancers and astronomers claim that Cetna's surface layers are likely full of aluminum, potassium, magnesium, and pyroxene along with other silicates. Deeper beneath the surface they suspect great quantities of Iron to be found along with pockets of gold, nickel, and platinum.   The only substances universally agreed upon to exist there are obsidian and the pulverized silicates that make up Pale Eye's dust.

History

The early history of the moon is largely unknown. Only educated guesses can be made based on what scholars were able to view married with their limited understanding of planetary formations. Ancient elven astromancers are believed to be the truest source of information in this regard. They speculate that Cetna is the core and mantle left behind by some cosmic collision when the heavens were still young. The abundance of not just volcanoes but harden lakes of volcanic glass gives credence to the theory of a single massive catastrophe that spilt the lifeblood of the moon across her surface and quickly scarred over.

Tourism

While no one is going to the moon almost all the people of Tairos refer to it with great frequency. How they refer to it is what can vary from city to city. Cetna, Pale Eye, and simply The Moon are all the most common terms used and likely to be heard in almost any civilized corner of Tairos. Saying any of the three terms will illicit the same agreed upon notion, often regardless of the language spoken. So pervasive are the three words that they've found their way into the tongue of most major races, even the new comers like the Tengu. Certain areas will have more of a prediliction for one over the other however. For example; in Frostmere you're not likely to hear Cetna thrown around much. Instead they favor The Pale Eye. In nearby Ghal Ankhar the dwarves will generally just refer to it as The Moon, having little reverence for celestial objects in general. Yet, go to Lake Lunarch and there you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who uses anything but Cetna.
 
As far as actual tourists though... there are a few very eccentric stories of mad wizards who managed to teleport themselves to the moon or foolish explorers who tried to use The Gates to reach them. All these stories end the same way, with the traveler never seen nor heard from again. The only living authority on travel to the moon is a shop keeper and self-proclaimed astromancer from Frial named Bianca Loame
Alternative Name(s)
Cetna, The Pale Eye, The Moon
Type
Planetoid / Moon


Cover image: by Kerumgorgus

Comments

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
7 Jul, 2021 19:17

Oh! Fun mysteries! The name "pale eye" makes me thing some ominous being lurk in the shadows over there...

To see what I am up to, my latest article is Geography of magic for the River Challenge
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