The parched ground breaks and buckles and we reel back as gouts of smoking black and fiery orange lava spew forth. The men quickly throw up the ablative shields in a ritual born of time worn experience and necessity. We endure the tremors cursing the mkaazi (City Dwellers) that cause them in their madness. To them we are like the ever present dust, hardly worth their notice as they croon to their machines. But like the dust, we drift into the cracks and lodge between gears. One day we will break them – until then we seek release among the stars.
Asura is the primary planet in the Maania system. It is a terrestrial world with very little axial tilt and a 400 day orbit around Maania’s main M5 V Red Dwarf star. A quarter of Asura is covered by a hydrosphere – and half of that is frozen. Asura has a gravity of 0.98G and has a dense but breathable atmosphere containing large amounts of particulate matter (dust and ash) and water vapor. Asura has artificially induced volcanism – caused by the constant manipulation of the planet’s tectonic plates by the Earth Shapers civilization. The biosphere is dominated by species introduced from off-world (mostly from Abbadus and Holst in the Pristine system) and species genetically engineered to cope with the planet’s rampant volcanism.
Two civilizations dominate Asura: the Groedani (Earth Shapers), technologically advanced city-dwellers occupying seven rival city-states, and the Wyfendoui, a less advanced nomadic culture drifting across the seas and deserts of the planet. Both peoples descend from the Astaani civilization that once spanned both the Pristine and Maania star systems. Astaani influence is evident in Asura’s genetically engineered flora and fauna and in the terraforming gravity technology that is still used by the Earth Shapers. The closed castes of the Earth Shaper culture also strongly parallel the Enclaves found on Abbadus ( Pristine).