Turle was an aqueous world with an oxygen-laced atmosphere, a bit smaller
than Earth but also a bit denser. It orbited farther away from its parent star,
Kov, than Earth did from the sun, but Kov was a bit bigger and a bit hotter.
The net result was that Turle ended up somewhat warmer: rain at the poles turned
to snow during winter, but the polar regions never froze solid. A hefty proportion
of Turle's surface was oceanin fact, about eighty-five percent of it.
The land was distributed among three major continentsElutia in the
northern hemisphere, Magelia in the southern, and Xerse, straddling the equator
to the east of themand lots of islands of all sizes and shapes. A cluster
of about a dozen islands off Elutia, plus a banana-shaped slice of the neighboring
mainland, currently formed the political collaboration known as Hoditia. The
relative permanence normally thought of in connection with "nation"
was not a characteristic of Borijan institutions. On the southern coast of one
of Hoditia's inner islands was a city called Pygal, which had been "Pygal"
since long before "Hoditia" came into being, and would in all probability
still be so, long after Hoditia fell apart again. Fabrications of metals, silicates,
and carbonates tended to last longer than constructions based on Borijan promises
and good intentions.
On the outskirts of Pygal, overlooking a bay fringed by low hills encrusted
with architecture and spanned by slender-legged bridges, stood, the Replimaticon
Building. It was an immense, glittering silver and glass candelabra sprouting
from a massive central trunk that radiated into five rainbow-hued towers. The
towers in turn flared outward and upward to support varying numbers of ornate
smaller pinnacles. As the sapient species descended from mammals on Earth housed
itself in artificial caves, so the avian-descended sapients of Turle built themselves