|The Abyssal Realms
|1st/4th Alliance Worlds
|The Purple Planes
Though few are detailed, there are thousands of worlds in the Ring Realms occupied by hundreds of races. The universe is vast and the Ring Realms, the center around which most of the stories revolve, is but a small part. That being the actual "Ring Realms", the world rings connected by a combination of magic and Kriar science. If one knows their way and has learned the proper rituals, it possible to hop from world to world throughout the realms. This is largely due to the legacy of the Kriar gate network which was seeded through the choicest planets rich in biomass and material resources. It is, in fact, this particular situation which is the recent source of tension between the Kriar and some of the existing alliances.
The Magocratic Ring
The 27th Magocracy, the combine of magical planets mastered loosely by the great elder Elsbeth Crowninshield (see her glossary entry and personality profile), forms the primary world "ring" that is the core of the Realms. Titaan, the planet where the Band of the Crescent moon originated (the members around whom many stories are spun), is in a lesser ring called the "Dracos Combine" that is an offshoot from the primary ring. It helps to think of the Ring Realms as a chain. A "ring" is a link in the chain. The Magocracy is the primary ring because it is the largest continguous network. Elsbeth's magocratic government maintains the magical gateways that link the worlds together. It is possible, given time, to start on one world, and take each gate in turn, and after some seventy-one "world drops" end up on the planet where you started. Such a trip would be an endeavor of months or years, because the magocracy was careful to place the inbound and outbound links on each world in far removed city states to prevent possible monopolization of interworld "through traffic".
In the 71 world magocratic ring, there are twelve "capital worlds" where the highest concentrations of magic exist. On these worlds, where the magocracy has the strongest influence and control, there are gate "hubs". Each world has its typical inbound and outbould links, but additionally two hubs (also seperated by great distances) are installed in the magocratic city states. These hubs consist of eight gate destinations (six to other hub worlds and two reserved for travel to on-world gates, one to the counter-hub (which links to the remaining six hub worlds) and one to either the inbound or outbound link gate). This 12 world ring-within-a-ring is called the "Crown Ring" and it is from this where Elsbeth's sirname originates. As the hereditary defenders of the "Crown Ring", the most powerful magic families in the Magocracy were dubbed the "Crowninshield" or shield of the crown. Elsbeth and her descendents have held the sirname for more than ten centuries.
As mentioned above, the rings of the 27th magocracy are all of human design, and are actively maintained by Crowninshield family's members and assigns. However, they are not the only gates on some of these worlds. Some millions of years previous, Kriar survey teams scouting the habitable worlds of Eternity installed the "nodes" of their gate network. On some of the most promising worlds, the great Kriar gate "henges" were assembled, giant time-portal hubs capable of transporting large quantities of supplies and people.
One of the fringe worlds in the Magocracy named Charon, is the site of a Kriar gate henge. Locals dubbed this artifact the Henge of the Precincts, it is more widely known as the great henge of Benidnar. The "nar" is old Elvish for "portal" or "door". So, most of the named Kriar gate henges have a name ending in "nar".
Charon is the same world upon which a Kriar Shal'kirin named Theln Azygos lost in Kriar/Protectorate war emerged from stasis and began a new life as an adventurer, later to become one of the most powerful mages in the Realms (see her origin story here).
Where Kriar gate henges exist there will always be corresponding "maintenance" nodes. These smaller gates were used for easy access to a planet while the larger hub was being built. Because of the Kriar's mobility the "nodes" might be hundreds or even thousands of leagues from the hub assembly point. Usually the henge hubs were built on the surface in out-of-the-way locations where the damaging energies caused by portal activity had limited environmental impact. The nodes, being much smaller, and having far less affect on the environment were typically placed near the greatest concentrations of material resources used in the construction of the gate hub. These node gates were often built in solid rock around hundred feet below the surface. Presumably to further minimize the environmental impact and limit access. Similar to the rings of gates formed by the humans, the "nodes" of the Kriar gate network were interconnected in a lattice. Not only to hub worlds but to transition points and other "weak spots" where access to n-space was easier.
The Dracos Combine
The world of Charon was host to another phenomena that proliferated through much of the Ring Realms; the Arcturan death spectacles. The archimage Meridian Arcturan had in his travels discovered one of the Kriar gate nodes, and after years of study and experimentation managed to devise a way to activate them.
Using the long-abandoned nodes he moved people and supplies covertly from world to world, escaping the notice of government of the Magocracy (of the 71 worlds of the Magocracy, fourteen possessed Kriar node gates). Charon, being on the fringes of the Magocracy, was a prime location to build one of the first of the Death Spectacle arenas. This arena, like the ones that came before and after it, was built directly over the subterranean Kriar node gate. Sub-levels were dug beneath the colosseum linking the structure on the surface to the gate.
Using the Kriar node gates, Meridian's arenas sprung up on dozens of worlds. While subversive, the Death Spectacles became another "ring" in the Realms providing access (while limited) between planets that would otherwise have no contact.
This is one of the only benefitial effects attribed to Meridian's long lived despotism, and that is by providing anchor points to worlds outside of the 27th magocracy's government built and monitored ring system. The highest forms of magical teleportation can cross vast interstellar distances BUT the mage (or creature) performing the teleportation must have been to the location previously in order to return to it via teleporting. By seeding mages and building familiar teleportation "drop zones" Meridian linked Charon with the ring of worlds that would later be called the "Dracos Combine". The ring gets its name for the Silissian leader Dracos Stoneheart who provided resources, and patronized the first Death Spectacle arena on Titaan in the Silissian Kingdom of Drakmourn. The Kingdom's name which was originally named Stoneheart was changed by his widowed wife to Drakmourn in memorium of his death. His widow, Vivyr Stoneheart, remarried taking the vow of marriage with Hemut Shadowstalker. The Shadowstalker heirs ruled Drakmourn into the present day (see Bronawyn Shadowstalker, Nevarr Shadowstalker, Ranfast Shadowstalker, Xenos Shadowstalker).
With the backing of the magically powerful and populous Kingdom of Stoneheart, Meridian was able to spread his influence quickly through several worlds. In return for his backing, Meridian gave Dracos first access to the planets reachable by the nodegates. The Silissian king plundered resources and any cities and kingdoms they found, pillaging from more than a dozen worlds. In a short time, Dracos became a major power in Silissia having significantly increased his strength and resources without encroaching on neighboring kingdoms.
The team of Meridian and Dracos was not long to last. The Silissian ruler was greedy to press on, to spread further into the gate network for richer and easier prey. Meridian advised caution, preferring to scout thoroughly before attempting to take action against any inhabitants found. Dracos pressed on without him. It was on a little backwater world called Oerth that Dracos met Theln Azygos. Theln had a rather pastoral settlement stationed (perhaps not so coincidently just a short distance from the nodegate). What she was doing there is not clear but, unfortunately for Dracos, he did not recognize the warning signs when three sets of scouts failed to return. His confidence was such that his well armed platoon of fighters and mages challenged the strange gold creature that confronted them outside the stone walls of the settlement. Against a great elder mage, the group was devastated in instants and prideful Dracos when offered surrender refused. The powerful King's corpse was unceremonously dumped through the gate with a note warning any comers never to bother the settlement again.
Meridian gave Oerth a wide berth for more than a century. He would later (after Theln moved on) build an Death Spectacle in the Kron hills of Oerth. It would be through that gate more than a century later that Tal Falor and Kaas Windsbane would find their way to Titaan.