the sky

(see footnote ⁰ below)

anyone looking up at the skies of the Sea of Flowers for the first time¹ will almost immediately notice Ashe and the Cuts.

Ashe, the companion planet of Lilith, constantly hangs unmoving in the Ashebound sky (hence the name of the direction). in the Sea of Flowers's folklorized history, the Ashen peoples² used some lost means to travel from their home in Ashe to the Sea of Flowers, marking the start of the Cinnabar Era, before they were left behind during the Heavenly Schism and permanently settled on Lilith.³ people have attempted to observe Ashe for signs of a comtinued presence there, but nothing's been visible other than thick forests and ash clouds.

looking seaward (to the left of Ashe) are the Cuts, a series of thin red bands that arc above the horizon. during the day these are barely visible against the blue sky, but at night they become incredibly clear, glowing in the night. symbolically, they're regarded as scars left by the Schism, the final and most prominent accent to an entire landscape painted with reminders of what happened to the world.

moving out of the perspective of the Sea of Flowers, Lilith and Ashe are a binary planet. Ashe is the more massive by the slimmest margin but for most purposes the two are the same size, orbiting a barycenter fairly close to halfway between them. the Cuts are a set of narrow rings around Lilith, formed during the Heavenly Schism from displaced ground and residue from the mass amount of Break used. Asher is still inhabited by a lot of people, but the lack of more advanced telescopes and frewuent wildfire-driven soot storms on Ashe make it impossible for anyone in the Sea of Flowers to see them.

Ashe-Lilith have a minor moon⁴ orbiting them collectively, usually called Alt (/alt̚/, AHLT). the three bodies orbit the system's star, Atelkou (/æ.'tel.koʊ/, a-TEL-koh), once every 277 days.

details on the rest of Ashe-Lilith's system are only sparsely known to the Sea of Flowers. the other planets, known as the traveling stars (or just travelers) are visible as bright points of light that move regularly through the sky, which naturally makes them astrotalically kinda important. there's some debate on what all counts as traveling stars and speculation about lost or undiscovered travelers, but the following eight objects, listed with their names in Alta⁵, have been easily observable through all of known history⁶ and correspondingly are part of nearly⁷ every system of astrotala:

past these eight there are more planets, with a handful having been rediscovered in the last 100 years, more known to pre-Schism civilization but not yet rediscovered, and a few more speculated to exist beyond those. most non-conservative traditions have accepted the "restored" travelers into their systems, as listed:

various planets beyond this were known or speculated to exist in the Cinnabar Era, but have yet to be rediscovered. accordingly, they aren't as widely accepted, but reconstructive schools of astrotala which include them on speculative orbits have been growing in popularity. these are:

past these are various speculative travelers, usually only counted as real by specific schools of astrotala that propose their existences. the three outliers of this that have any support beyond their original source are:

the planets are a major component of astrotala, supposedly influencing reality through their alignments with Ashe and the constellations of the astral belt, and have corresponding associations in other disciplines such as alchemy. there is of course no known mechanism for how exactly any of this is supposed to work, but that's beside the point.

the "fixed" stars (or just stars for short) that the travelers move against are usually grouped into constellations. the most widely-known of these are the astral belt, a specific group of constellations that pass behind Ashe in squence as the year progresses. whichever sign is behind Ashe at the time of someone's birth is said to be their birth sign, and is generally used as a base point to determine the effects of the travelers on a given person. the constellations in the astral belt are, in standard sequence:

the constellations themselves are usually assigned some small associations with personality traits, aspirations, etc., but these are so inconsistent and broad that there's nothing really worth listing here.

after these, the most well-known constellations are Loukeé (/loʊ.'ke.ə/, loh-KE-ə), the Rose, and Xwéteösý (/xʷə.', khwə-TE-o-see), the Rainbow, both of which are very visible in the sky for a good chunk of the year. there is also the Heavenly River, the bright band the center of the local galaxy presents to the Sea of Flowers. various shapes have been described in the Heavenly River and in clouds that cover segments of it for maybe thousands of years, but only one of these, the Rabbit,¹² is widely known to the contemporary public.

people have been looking at the sky for a very long time, and despite everything that's happened in that time, interest in space has only increased into the present. maybe there's a certain comfort to knowing that despite whatever happens to it, or to them, they will always be there, just like the sky.


⁰ - for simplicity, the planet the Sea of Flowers is located on is referred to as Lilith throughout this page. in-universe there's multiple names for it but i wanted to avoid saying "the planet the Sea of Flowers is on" every time it comes up.

¹ - most people are just used to the appearance of the sky (since they live under it and everything), but newly-awoken Constructs tend to be thrown off by the presence of the Cuts. this led to the widely accepted theory that they were created during the Heavenly Schism (which is accurate, but they can't prove it).

² - the "terrestrial/ashen/eldritch" distinction system is fairly hazy but pops up a lot in folk history. the ashen peoples are usually defined as Éntañi, Keäton, Hernite, Tanaǧun, Skwikir, and Chaptsév at minimum.

³ - the dominant pre-Cinnabar religious tradition held that Ashe was the home of God and the afterlife, leading to the arrival of peoples from Ashe, the Cinnabar Era, and the Heavenly Schism to be viewed through a religious lense both when it happened hundreds of years ago and to an extent in the present as well. the late Cinnabar Era and the Heavenly Schism in particular had a major effect on religion due to this, leading to a more dystheistic or even misotheistic throughline in mainstream bneliefs in the present.

⁴ - it's roughly the size and shape of Pluto-Charon's moon Nyx, and decently far out from Ashe-Lilith.

⁵ - the Altan names for the travelers are the most widespread considering Alta's status as the common language of the Sea of Flowers, but most other cultural-linguistic groups have their own names for them. their names in Alta are taken from the Thirtysix Angels in the pre-Cinnabar religion for the most part.

⁶ - this distinction matters because, while developments in astronomy accelerated in the Cinnabar Era, a lot of the means of observing the system became lost technology after the Heavenly Schism, leading to many objects becoming lost beyond records of pre-Schism observations. this eventually led to the Naked Eye Philosophy, a movement in the CC 1700s to stop recognizing the "archaic telescopic" planets and only count ones directly observable with the naked eye. this became the dominant school of thought on planets until the rediscovery of Sigéqýël and Ranqałifel in in the late 1800s, and still has sway in some circles of astrotala.

⁷ - the main exceptions to this are Atelkou and Alt, which are excluded from Scientific Astrotala and its offshoots due to not being planets in the same way as the other six.

⁸ - in the former case, lust and strong emotions are usually represented by Ranqałifel or Mahelýel. in the latter, harvest is represented by Atelkou and/or Ixaraël, while the spread of knowledge is included under Gqikenikýël.

⁹ - rather than being named after one of the Thirtysix Angels like most other travelers are in Alta, Houloël is named after the mythical companion of Ixaraël. originally a mortal who became interested in an overworked Ixaraël, they started accompanying Ixaraël as they tended to the garden of rebirth. as the two became companions over time, Houloël was eventually gifted a chunk of the power of creation by Ixaraël and they worked together from then on. the original myth really has more to do with companionship than anything, but considering the gradual commercialization of astrotala is makes sense that things better reflecting the values of the guild economy would eventually be worked into it.

¹⁰ - Amaxkwenoku is defined as starting on the first day of winter, with the rest of the astral belt signs being defined from there, which functionally makes it a tropical system i think? there are sidereal systems of astrotala but they aren't very common (and also im a little lazy and dont wanna figure that out :P)

¹¹ - there aren't horses in the Sea of Flowers. "unicorn" refers to an alpaca with a horn.

¹² - the constellations of the Heavenly River are only known by their descriptions, rather than having specific names. there might have been names at some point but they're VERY old and likely just lost to time, at least as far as anyone in the Sea of Flowers can reckon.