|Shard of the Stars|
|Primary Races:||Night Wyvern|
|Area:||323,699 km² (124,981 mi²)|
Shard of the Stars is a nation populated only by Night Wyverns. It has a rather even ratio of male to female and both genders are treated fairly, if not exactly equally.
While no one in this nation is literate, they record history in caves known as Recollections. The most talented artisans paint pictures of important events to remember for future generations. Only the oldest and most battle-scarred Wyverns are allowed to protect these caves from intruders. They're extremely precious to the Night Wyverns.
The nation itself also has an overwhelming population of older Wyverns, due to the tradition that younger Wyverns leave the nation until they're adults and also due to their long lifespans. However, elder Wyverns near the end of their natural lifespan are quite rare. Usually old age doesn't have a chance to set in before the Wyvern is killed for one reason or another.
Night Wyvern architecture is rather ingenious. Since these Wyverns live in the mountains, their structures need to be made to hold up against hurricane force winds and freezing nights. They also need to be made out of materials available to them - mostly stone and some wood. The Wyverns have managed to create strong and long-lasting structures by using stone held together with a sort of clay found in the rivers in the plains to the south with strong poles of wood for support. The structures are built in and around mountain peaks, clinging to them with wooden supports. Only important structures are built on the flat land that rarely appears in mountains.
Caves are made use of for Recollections. As mentioned earlier, Recollections are caves guarded by the strongest and oldest Wyverns filled with history in the form of paintings. Skilled artisans will paint important events in Night Wyvern history on the walls until the entire cave is filled with pictures and paintings, usually in chronological order from front to back. Once a cave is filled, it will be visited only by trusted members of society - everyone else is barred from such a precious site.
Shard of the Stars has the largest Recollection known to Night Wyverns. It's located within the center of the Nation, carefully guarded by at least three Night Wyverns at once. It has history thousands of years back, even before the meteor that scorched the ground, which is also drawn in there as a huge mural of a fiery ball of death. It's unknown how the Night Wyverns survived the apocalypse, but it's likely that they hid within their recollection caves - some still have deep scorch marks disrupting paintings on the walls that reach around the entrance. The oldest Recollection also has a painting of a Night Wyvern seeming to meet with a blue Sparkwing with black stripes. Since it's so old the paint is chipping away, but it seems to be unlikely that it could be just a Sea Wyvern - Sea Wyverns don't have black stripes.
The Council Hall is the largest structure from the Night Wyverns. It's a circular building built on a large flat area between two mountaintops. The back overhangs the edge of the mountain in a sort of balcony to overlook the most densely populated mountains. Inside the circular building is just a large dip in the floor with enough furs for the entire council of Wyverns to sit comfortably. In here, they discuss the future of the nation and foreign affairs. This is also where ambassadors from other nations would visit, if any would dare to. The other Wyvern nations are too busy or sucked up in their own affairs to care about foreign relations.
Environment and ClimateEdit
The climate of Shard of the Stars is what is to be expected of living on the mountaintops: thin air, cold, and windy. It only gets up to 7°C (45°F) during the day, excluding wind chill. Winds are usually from 48kph to 64kph (30-40mph), gusting up to 97kph (60mph). It's not the nicest place to live, but it's sustainable. Most of the nation's food comes from the surrounding forests, rivers, and plains rather than their bleak environment, anyway. They stockpile it in special food stores around mountaintops to keep it chilled for preservation to make sure that there is always food even in hard times.
As mentioned multiple times now, the environment of Shard of the Stars is very mountainous. Peaks up to 2,000m (6300') in elevation make up most of the mountain range the Night Wyverns call home. They lay claim to all of the peaks that separate the north and south part of the continent and some of the lands around it for hunting.
Government and PoliticsEdit
The Night Wyverns are governed by a Council of Elders. The oldest Wyverns in their society are chosen by the populace to lead them. Currently, there are around nine of them. The only known one is Myrike, a female in her mid two hundreds.
The Council discusses amount each other for thoughts on what to do in a crisis, on solving any issues with food distribution, and listen to the pleas of citizens who have had problems with crime or the law. The Council uses a different building than the Council Hall for listening to these pleas, however.
Shard of the Stars has an economy based off of the finite amount of gold found in their mountains. They use small chips and disks of gold for paying for goods and services, which is usually earned by doing something good for the nation.
Usually, in times of crisis, Night Wyverns are expected to work for the good of the nation even without pay. Since these Wyverns aren't really greedy, and understand the dire need of teamwork, they would gladly put in work without pay. However, they also aren't stupid and won't do so if it's not a time of crisis.
Shard of the Stars has existed for as long as any Night Wyvern can remember. It even existed far before the meteor scorched the planet, if paintings in the Recollections caves are to be believed. No one really knows how it was founded, but it's assumed that a bunch of Night Wyverns roamed the mountains from the start of their species - it's an excellent range, after all, and one of the largest in the world. It's likely that they just congregated and formed a rough tribe that evolved into the nation it is today over time.
What is known about Shard of the Stars is that it was built around a mysterious crystal about the size of a Night Wyvern - it's white and glows faintly. No one truly knows what the material is, but it's sacred to the nation. More scientific minds assume it may have come from space like the meteor many thousands of years before, but no one knows the truth. It's a natural marvel that gave the nation its name.
Night Wyverns don't really have a military, per se. However, they do have males that stand guard and police the nation. They are very disciplined and are willing to go out and fight other tribes and nations Shard of the Stars may have conflict or quarrel with. Most males in society are also extremely militaristic anyway in their ways who will likely protect the nation - and the young within it - to the death
The culture of the Night Wyverns is based heavily off of the idea of survival of the fittest and the praise of the strong. Night Wyverns start out in life play-fighting and tussling under the watchful eye of their parents, primarily their mother. Around age five, they're cast out of the nest to survive on their own in the wild for many years. Most juveniles return when they're twenty, now strong and grown adults, but weaker ones will try and return to their mother before even a few years passed. These weaker Wyverns are usually driven out of Shard of the Stars to spend some more time in the wilds, but unfortunately, they usually end up dying in the cold wilderness of the mountain ranges.
The strongest of Wyverns return when they reach thirty or even older. The older they return, the more respect the nation has for them and the more Wyverns want to mate with them. Sometimes these revered Wyverns let this get to their head - the male may go on a spree trying to inseminate as many females as he feels he wishes, then gets overloaded with the work of caring for far too many hatchlings. Revered females might let themselves be coerced by too many males and end up causing fights to decide who is the father of the clutch.
When it comes to creating and laying a clutch, though, mates choose each other based off of shows of strength. Males and females alike will spar for the best chances with the best of the opposite sex. As the hatchlings grow, the male of the pair can decide whether or not he is satisfied with the outcome of his offspring. If he feels they are too weak, he may move on to another female rather than staying with the current one, leaving her to care for the offspring alone. These rejected females tend to just tend to orphans and care for wounded Wyverns in Shard of the Stars, though some try to work themselves up to become stronger. Most realise that there are just too many stronger fish in the sea for them to compete and relinquish themselves to the lesser work.
A strong, gravid female is among the most revered things in Shard of the Stars, however. Her mate will have his head high and protect her from any curious stares, and the couple may have gifts of food given to them for wishes of health and prosperity. The nation's populace believes that these strong pairs are their future and their livelihood, so they try their best to support them and uplift them. However, if the pair becomes lazy and starts leeching rather than giving, their revered status tumbles downhill as fast as an avalanche.
Elders do not mate anymore in Shard of the Stars and prefer to cater their time more towards learning the art of painting and recording history. The eldest Wyverns may make up the council that rules the nation and conducts foreign diplomacy, such as working out territorial disputes with the nearby Forest Wyverns who feel the forests in the mountains belong to them.
While the species itself isn't very religious, the Night Wyverns in Shard of the Stars have a system of belief. Their beliefs revolve around the mysterious glowing crystal in the center of their nation - they believe it is part of the mountains and the sky equally, and speaks for the world around it. They believe that the amount the crystal glows relates to how happy or angry it is, with the brighter it glows being better. The Wyverns fear that if the crystal goes dark, the world may follow and destruction will rain upon it.
Elders of the Wyverns will meditate by the crystal for hours, believing they can listen to it and understand what it may say. Not much has come out of this, but those who meditate often feel relaxed and in a state of higher being, so many take to the hobby. The Elders are also charged with the job of keeping the crystal clean and protected, as a dirty crystal is a very, very angry one.
Coming of SpringEdit
Shard of the Stars doesn't really have any specific holidays, but they do celebrate the coming of spring after a long winter. In the mountains, winters are harsh and fierce, leading to sickness and death, especially in any chicks that may hatch in this time. Eggs freeze, food is too hard to bite, and fresh meat is scarce. Therefore, when the spring comes around and the ice melts, it is time for celebration. Feasts are held to celebrate the abundance of food, and offerings of various animal bones, skins, and fruits are given to the great crystal in gratefulness for the coming spring.
This time is also the only time that one would hear Night Wyverns create music. They stomp their paws on the boards of their nation to create loud, echoing bangs that reverberate against the mountain below. The Elder Wyverns shake their heads to rattle their long neck spines, creating an eerie noise that almost resembles the rattling of a rattlesnake's tail. Chicks squeak and the adults roar, creating a ridiculous cacophony of noise comparable to sitting in the center of a sea lion colony during mating season. To them, though, it is beautiful music.