RIDERS OF VALLARN 00 - INTRODUCTION TO A WORLD OF FIRE AND ICE
Updated: Dec 8, 2019
A world so isolated within the galactic fringe that its very existence has been forgotten for millennia at a time. Archives contain no record of colonization for the tidally locked world, yet ancient ruins haunt its burning wastelands and nightmarish glacial fields. Periodically “rediscovered” by imperial traders, Vallarn has no formal contact with the Imperial government. Meeting the occasional demands of passing strong men, who avoid government involvement themselves, is doubtlessly preferable to the ceaselessly expanding and confounding requirements of far off Imperial bureaucrats. Vallarn’s one city, Valt, consists of millennia's worth of hive infrastructure built upon its own decaying foundations. The denizens of Valt’s depths are as lost as the cities history and as dark as Vallarn’s eternal night.
Lurking terrors from Vallarn’s night side demand vigilant soldiers to fill its wasteland regiments. Irregular urban militia and naval storm troopers, further secure Valt from gangs, cults, and rebellious political houses. Specialized and hardy soldiers, known as the wolves of Vallarn, prowl the frigid and unending night side as the first line of defense when hidden terrors stir. A small local Navy protects merchants in the Vallarus system, of which Vallarn is the second planet. The fleet consists of no interstellar ships; that technology having remained beyond the grasp of the government and industry alike. Warden class escort ships named after Vallarn’s swift striking desert warriors of old, make up the bulk of the fleet. Surveillance and support vessels, such as troop ships able to drop entire infantry regiments into battle from orbit, protect the multitude of colonies throughout the system as well as keep them in line.
Despite its extreme conditions, Vallarn is the only world orbiting the star Vallarus able to host life without man made infrastructure. The planet’s ponderously slow orbit has enough variation in it to maintain two bizarre seasons. The Thaw, and The freeze, as these seasons are known are a cycle in which Vallarn’s permanent day side steadily drifts closer to Vallarus, thawing the edges of the night side’s glaciers and then gradually moves away again decreasing the planet’s overall temperature while increasing the shadow of the night side slightly. The Glaciers grow constantly in this process but the thaw produces seasonal flooding, and torrential storms for long periods each year in a region called the twilight belt.
Vallarn’s twilight belt is a band of Vallarn’s geography caught in perpetual dawn and dusk. Viewed from this region the star Vallarus sits unmoving above the hazy horizon. A gradual decrease in light from the burning dayside of the belt toward the frozen night side permits a wide swath of vegetation to persist. The plant life there is as diverse and extreme as the planet itself. Ranging from sweltering grasslands, to tangled jungles, shifting to temperate forests, rugged alpine groves and then finally tundra plants too stubborn to die. The seasonal melting during the thaw causes extreme water runoff and flooding. Erosion of the twilight belt’s geography has carved a series of continuous canyons around Vallarn running between north and south. These ancient channels dump their flood water into desert deltas where evaporation occurs rapidly, fueling the thaws severe seasonal storms.
This chasm, with flowing water, draped in greenery, and set with the beauty of a perpetual sunrise as its backdrop is a stark contrast to the rest of the world and jealously guarded by Vallarn’s elite. The ruling class build their palaces and walled estates on mountain peaks or grand vistas along canyon walls. Such lavish amenities are accessible only to a few and typically only accessible by air. Such beauty is not without risk though. The proximity of the night side means that danger from the planet’s darkness is never too far from hand. For that reason, and others, the super wealthy often employ considerable private armies of one or more regiments. Whether mercenary, ideological or familial in nature, these private armies are as diverse as the men and women who control them. The societal elite of Vallarn are the ruling class of Vallarus and they reserve the twilight belt for themselves while dictating life for the rest of the system’s billions of citizens.
The city of Valt functions as the hub of all inhabited worlds orbiting Vallarus. The city’s governor is the de facto ruler of the entire system, though technically each settlement has its own governor. Smaller settlements and even the systems other cities are dependent on Vallarn as their primary water source. Sole possession of water, in the form of its glaciers, affords Vallarn the ability to ensure the security or demise of the system’s other worlds. As with any civilization security is a precious commodity. Vallarus has been visited by interstellar xenos ships on occasion, but it’s primary threats originate from within its own confines. Renegades, heretics, and rebels creep from the night worlds to raid and pillage. A broad asteroid ring between Vallarus’ third and fourth worlds provides these pirates and other criminals ample opportunities for treachery. The belt dulls the red light of Vallarus for the star’s outer worlds so severely that they are known as the night worlds.
Perhaps no other human world, save Terra in its ancient history, has endured such extreme and diverse challenges in isolation. Alone in its forgotten corner of the fringe the citizens of Vallarn and Vallarus defy the odds by surviving another day. When others quake in fear for humanity’s future the brave men and women of Vallarn stand resolute! These defy the dark chaos of the void with every breath they draw! Theirs is a world rife with danger and uncertainty, yet each day is embraced with vigor! Why? Because mankind was born for adversity! Our race thrives when challenged. When threatened with doom humanity stands defiant! Let the xenos pine for Utopia! It will burn to ash in a heartbeat! Mankind, forged in the cruel furnace of mortal suffering, will reach for the stars, and conquering them with iron fists, seize its destiny!