Ibren Geographic Location in The Sealed Kingdoms | World Anvil

Ibren

Ibren is a habitable, if somewhat inhospitable, planet in what the Cobalt Protectorate calls the Falconer's Eye System. Notable for its equatorial ice sheets and extreme axial tilt, Ibren is perhaps best known for being the destination of the colony vessels ESCI Revelation and ESCI Dewhollow.

Geography

Ibren is an otherwise unremarkable terrstrial planet in terms of material composition. The surface features three large continents and a numerous archipelagoes dense enough to support construction and habitation. Ibren's many tectonic plates ride atop a sea of new, hot magma that provides the planet's protective magnetosphere and is constantly driving new islands and mountain ranges towards the surface. While this means that the terrain would otherwise be quite rocky and steep, it serves to counteract the other major geophysical features found on Ibren: the strong tides and frequent high winds that erode the surface back down over time, giving much of the surface geography a polished, flowing appearance. Pockets of relatively calm weather lie inland where high mountain ridges redirect wind currents.

Ecosystem Cycles

One of the most striking geological features of Ibren is its broad equatorial ice sheet. Because Ibren's axis is tilted almost exactly 60 degrees relative to its orbital plane, the tropics are reversed, leaving the equatorial regions in twilight for half the year. The poles, in contrast, are cool deserts where the local life sleeps away the monthslong winter nights and summer days alike in undergound burrows. The shift in temperatures at the poles during these periods create the scouring winds that follow these extreme seasons.   Between the equatorial ice and freeze-drying environment of the poles, only around 40% of Ibren's surface would be considered habitable to most would-be colonists. Evermornans, however, are an exception to this rule, as they already come from a cool, damp world and have technology borne of the struggle to survive in harsh winter conditions. The prospective colonies of the Evermornan, Lepidosian, and Feldean colonists will be situated such that surface structures can make use of the high winds to generate power while much of the critical infrastructure lies below the stone and ice.

Localized Phenomena

Ibren has two small moons, each of which has potential for resource exploration. The orbits of the moons, angled as they are relative to that of the system writ large, are believed to play a role in keeping Ibren's axial tilt stable.   Ardris is less a traditional moon than a collection of several huge comets trapped in the planet's gravity well many millions of years ago. Ardris is an ice world with an ice core, a water mantle, and a thin water vapor atmosphere. The actual mineral mass of this moon is quite minimal, and remote sensing suggests it might even be possible to traverse between the poles with a submersible probe without encountering any mineral deposits coarser than sand. The surface is shaped by cryo-volcanism and impacts with interplanetary debris, the remants of which can sometime be observed in Ibren's night sky as Ardris' 'tail.' Though smaller than Desmad(see below), Ardris is more dense and, thus, has a stronger influence on Ibren's tides. Extremophiles may yet be found on Ardris, persisting beneath the icy crust on chemosynthetic processes, but the world is thus far observed to be lifeless.   Desmad, in contrast to Ardris, is an orange, dusty moon comprised primarily of aluminum, silicon, and iron oxides. Wisps of water vapor expelled from Ardris sometimes cross the orbital path of Desmad, creating pools of rime on the prograde-facing hemisphere of the tide-locked moon where craters and ridges provide sufficient shade. The ice coverage waxes and wanes with the seasons. The reducing chemistry of Desmad's soil strips oxygen from the tenuous atmosphere, making the planet a hostile place indeed for terrestrial life. Nevertheless, Desmad would make a suitable location for manufacturing silicon-based products for orbital infrastructure, as its gravity is low enough to make surface-to-orbit shipping relatively inexpensive.

Fauna & Flora

The local ecosystem is believed to be descended from asteroid mantises which fell from orbit long ago and were unable to return. Asteroid mantises are large, ambulatory lichens which are comprised of extremely environmentally-resistant fungal and algal colonies working together. The mantises are considered invasive species among the space-faring civilizations of the Sealed Kingdoms region, but they are significantly less dangerous when grounded thus. Over time, the stranded mantises' component species began to spread across the planet - they used the planet's mineral wealth and pale red-orange starlight to live and adapt on the world. The equator, polar deserts, and tall mountains caused alloptaric speciation. Vast mats of lichens and huge, squat mushrooms covered the surface where conditions allowed, with spores riding the winds into adjacent regions to allow life to spread. Some mantises managed to retain locomotion over the course of their evolution, becoming meantwigs over geological time.   The demonym for people and creatures residing on Ibren is Ibrenian(s).

Natural Resources

While the ubiquitous winds make successful orchards unlikely, the soil of Ibren's many wind-swept plains is rich and good for grain production or animal grazing. Some of the fungusses, mosses, lichens, and sea grasses found on Ibren are edible by humans, near-humans, and any fish they brought along in their aquaponics systems - a serendipitous quirk of convergent evolution on the unusual planet.

Tourism

Ibren was explicitly chosen by the Evermorn Strategic Colony Initiative because of its supposed lack of interest or previous visitation by non-human species. The overarching goal of the ESCI is to spread humans and near-humans throughout the Sealed Kingdoms region to prevent extinction by any single planetary event - especially relativistic bombardment. To that end, relative backwaters with unfavorable stars are the most likely to be chosen for colonization efforts, and Ibren fits this description nicely.   The colonists aboard the Revelation, Dewhollow, and any subsequent followers are instructed to maintain only tight-beam laser communications contact with the homeworld to minimize the chance of their detection via radio traffic. By the time other species discover the presence of humans on Ibren, colonists will be spread so far across the surface and into the surrounding space that no single attack will be able to wipe them out - and the cycle of secret colonization will begin again.

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Cover image: by Beat Schuler (edited by BCGR_Wurth)

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