The Ferochromon is a fascinating universe of vivid colors and amazing phenomena. It is also quite different from the Terran universe, and it is our aim here to introduce the unfamiliar aspects of it to the newcomer so that he would know what to expect when he pays a visit.
Perhaps the first thing that would strike an Earth-born travellers upon arriving at the Ferochromon is that there is no unique planet we call Land. The Ferochromon is divided into three separate realms, each of which is a vast, distinct expanse of space. Within this space, countless pieces of lands (alternately translated landmasses) are suspended. Each piece of land is physically separated from the other lands; but one may travel from one land to another by means of the portals. Unlike the Earth, these lands usually do not have a spherical shape; they usually consist of flat surfaces joined at sharp angles, like the facets of a crystal. Some lands are spherical at the cosmic scale; but at the human scale the surface still consists of these `facets' or `sides'.
Lands differ greatly in size and age. Some lands are comparable to large asteroids in the Terran universe; others are very large and may span thousands of smaller lands in width alone. Most of the largest lands are roughly spherical, although irregular shapes also occur. Generally speaking, smaller lands and spherical lands are younger, while large irregular lands tend to be more ancient.
The portals are what make it possible to easily travel between the lands. There are both naturally-occurring and artificial portals, that serve as `tunnels' between the lands. Naturally-occurring portals may be permanent, periodic, sporadic, or random. Permanent portals are safe for general use; periodic portals require a bit of caution but are also usually safe.
However, travellers are warned to stay away from the sporadic and random portals. These should only be used with the permission and guidance of a local Expert; many of them are unreliable or even outright dangerous. Since newcomers would likely have no idea how to tell different types of portals apart, they are advised to completely avoid all unknown portals.
Sights in the Sky
Another striking feature of the Ferochromon to a Terran visitor is the great variety of objects in the sky. Unlike the Earth, there is no unique Sun or Moon; and there aren't any `stars' in the Terran sense, either. There is therefore no periodic night/day cycle on the lands. Instead, there is a host of celestial objects arrayed in the sky more or less unchangingly. The arrangement of these objects differ from land to land. Every land has a unique perspective on these objects, and visitors are encouraged to visit at least several different lands to enjoy the spectacular variety.
There are two kinds of objects in the sky: those in the region immediately above the land, and those that lie beyond in the inter-land space. We call the former the Leresic objects, and the latter the Khøsic objects.
Among the Leresic objects include something Terran visitors often identify as analogous to the Terran sky. When viewed from a distance, it appears to be a canopy of color over the horizon; when viewed from below, it indeed appears to be the Ferochromon equivalent of the Terran sky. It comes in a great variety of colors. It is actually a layer of luminous plasma from inter-land space, trapped above the land by the region of transmissive force called the Leresi, which surrounds the land. Sometimes, it is opaque, causing Khøsic objects to be obscured behind it.
Two other Leresic objects that often greatly fascinates Terran visitors are the `clouds' and `heavenly streams'. These are actually the same phenomenon, called the Farich. They are globs and streams of either particles or liquid from inter-land space, also trapped by the Leresi. The `streams' often fragment into `clouds', which in turn may merge with other `clouds' to form larger `clouds' or new `streams'. The clouds often change their shape very quickly, which seems to amuse the Terran visitors. One breathtaking phenomenon which occasionally occurs is when certain physical conditions cause the layer of luminous plasma to coalesce into these clouds and streams. During such events, it appears as if clouds and streams are `dripping' from the glowing `sky', often accompanied by spectacular color changes. Sometimes, the entire layer of plasma condenses, causing a sudden `nightfall'.
The starburst is something Terran visitors often point out as resembling the Terran Sun or a star. Depending on its size and distance from the land, it may appear as a blindingly bright globe of flashing colors in the sky or a small spherical disk surrounded by a faint glow. Actually, the starburst is closer to a supernova in the Terran universe than a star. It is a highly energetic phenomenon which spews forth new matter into the realms. It actually manifests itself in a variety of forms. The Khøsic starbursts are its most prominent manifestation, but it is also the same phenomenon which causes the violent volcanoes on the land and the bubbling fountains at the source of the `rivers'.
The other prominent Khøsic object is the giant whirlpool. Terran observers often point out its resemblance to galaxies in the Terran universe. It often appears as a beautiful spiral made of tiny dots of color, hanging like some cosmic decoration in the sky. Sometimes, it appears as a pitch black elliptical disk against the background of more distant Khøsic objects. Like the starburst, the giant whirlpool also has a smaller scale manifestation in the mud whirlpools on the land, or the phenomenon under the land which causes the sinking ground. It is the antithesis of the starburst, consuming matter from the realms. Those who have lived with the Ebisedi for a while would know that local whirlpools are used as a means of garbage disposal.
Besides these prominent Khøsic objects, there are also the `celestial streams'. These are similar in appearance to the Leresic streams, except that they are much farther away and much larger in scale. These streams are regions of flowing inter-land matter, formed by regions of transmissive forces in inter-land space. Unlike the Leresic streams, these streams usually do not change much in appearance, and do not fragment into `clouds'.
Other lands may also be seen in the sky as `floating continents' or as distant fragments of rock floating in the sky. Terran visitors often identify them as `stationary asteroids'; but they are in fact neighbouring lands. Strictly speaking, they are not Khøsic objects; but they are often classified as such because of their position from the point of view of the observer.
On rare occasions, visitors may also see the fire clouds. These are regions of instability in inter-land space, and appear as flashing clouds of bright colors. These unstable regions sometimes cross the lands, causing `lands of fire'. Although pretty to watch from a distance, these unstable regions are actually very dangerous, and inhabited lands are usually far away from them. Visitors are discouraged from seeking to venture close to these regions.
Sights on Land
Just as the sights in the sky, there are many interesting sights on land that visitors will enjoy.
Among the various phenomena on land are the terrestrial manifestations of the starburst and giant whirlpool. The fountains and springs found on the lands are the midget versions of the starburst, as are the geysers and volcanoes. The colorful rivers of Ferochromon are caused by these fountains and geysers. Similarly, the little whirlpools on land are the smaller versions of the celestial giant whirlpools. These smaller whirlpools are often used as local waste disposals. The ``sinking ground'' phenomenon found on some lands are in fact buried whirlpools which consume the matter around them, causing the ground to sometimes collapse.
First time visitors to the Ferochromon often notice that clear water is very rarely, if at all, found. Instead, liquids of various colors are used for washing, cooking, and other tasks. These liquids come from the colorful rivers, usually flowing from a fountain. Some of these liquids can be used for drinking; but visitors are advised to always consult a local before attempting to do so. Some lands may have colorful ``lakes'' and ``seas'' formed by the accumulation of liquid from the rivers. These can be very pretty, but visitors are warned not to attempt to swim in them. Ferochromon physics operate differently from Terran physics, and Terran swimming methods will most likely result in drowning.
Some lands may have mountains. There are 3 types of mountains: there are the jagged, irregular mountains which most closely resemble Terran mountains; mountains which are actually slanted facets of the land; and the `mounds' which are caused by buried volcanoes. The slanted facets of land are perhaps the most disorienting to newcomers. In the Ferochromon, objects are drawn `downwards' towards the surface of a land by an `orientation force', a transmissive force similar to gravity in the Terran universe. Unlike Terran gravity, however, the orientation force does not have a center of attraction, and sometimes only acts in the close vicinity of the land's surface. It can also be non-perpendicular to the surface of the land, depending on how the land was formed. The `slanted facets' of some lands are actually two flat surfaces with perpendicular orientation forces, joined at an angle. While observing from one facet, the other facet may appear to be a slope; however, as one traverses over to the other facet, one's orientation changes, and now the other facet appears to be the flat surface and the first facet the sloped one. Terran visitors are often very confused by this orientation shift, and are quite astonished to see people on other land facets standing in seemingly impossible angles from their point of view.
The other interesting aspect of the lands are the rich and varied lifeforms that occur on them. The `extractors', a part of which resembles Terran plantlife, are a class of lifeforms that extract resources from the land and presents them in edible forms on the surface. Then there are the lifeforms that resemble Terran animals, having a mobile body, including some humanoid species. There are also the little-understood class of ephemereal beings which appear to have no fixed physical form. These latter are unlikely to be encountered by visitors, as they usually inhabit inaccessible or dangerous regions. Visitors are also warned to avoid deliberate contact with such beings, as some of them are known to be quite malicious. Lifeforms on the Ferochromon are described in more detail in the Fauna & Flora section.