Table of Contents
Dominion consists of two worlds, both of which inhabit the same space, but in different universes (or what would colloquially pass as 'dimension').
Normally these worlds would not know of each other, but a cosmic-magical catastrophe has punched a hole into the fabric of spacetime within one world, Eden, which is now irreversibly occupied by that part of space within the other, Goloka.
Eden is, for all intents and purposes, the Earth of current time. Since the aforementioned catastrophe happened many decades ago and has had incredible impact on the culture and evolution of the Eden populace, there are substantial differences that have emerged over time.
Technologically, Eden is locked at a stage comparable to the mid-twentieth century, with a good chunk fewer inhabitants - rather than two and a half billion, only about one and a half.
Since Goloka's punch-through occurred in Europe, much of the continent near the punch-through has been abandoned for reasons akin to why one would leave the vicinity of an active volcano, leaving nature to reclaim central Europe.
The punch-through site itself sits centred on the Black Forest, engulfing about a third of it.
Very few casualties of mankind's have come directly from the punch-through. The biggest issues came from subsequent wars which have since been entirely squashed. The most recent, according to the Edenites, occured in 1987, a few (simulated) decades prior to the Citizen's first appearance.
Following the establishment of the rule of Goloka even on Eden, the lingua franca changed radically, shifting from English into another tongue imported from Goloka, which bears much semblance to a shifted, mangled version of Dutch, and these days it is rare to find anyone in Eden speaking anything else.
Despite battles prior, very little animosities from Eden's side remain, perhaps comparable to the way in which civil Germany largely approached the Allied forces with respect (even though there was no dictatorship in Eden at the time of the last war; the comparison is in mood only).
Goloka is a planet of Earth's size, orbitting in synchronisation with it in the respective other universe, occupying the same point in space at every given time, and bestowed by a source of light just the same as Earth's in Eden. Furthermore, Goloka's continent structure is identical to Earth's in Eden.
That is, however, where the differences end.
Goloka is a fantasy world, inhabited by trolls and wyverns and half-drakes and griffins and all kinds of mythological creatures, as well as its own subset of human culture, which could be described as dominant if one went by raw numbers within the cultured, sapient species, though only by a hair's breadth. (The Golokan humans are those who brought their language to Eden.)
Goloka is also a patchwork of territories, carefully maintained. The animosities of the creatures who lay claim on these territories toward each other is far greater than those between the worlds at large - species-based xenophobia runs rampant.
Arguably, the only thing effectively drawing Goloka together is their dragon deity and unquestioned ruler, Shahrivar, who is in effect also the ruler of Eden.
Within Goloka, a gaggle of different tongues are spoken, which has brought about the necessity of so-called Oracles, respected, immediate underlings of Shahrivar who have a gift with languages. The most notable languages in Goloka are those spoken by humans (as in Eden), Shahrivar's individual tongue, and Griffin, all of which differ greatly.
The 'space' between the two worlds is called Twilight and is usually invisible and intangible. At the punch-through site, however, it is visible as a blue-ish dome, like a hyper-sized drop of a very viscous fluid. Through it, Goloka can just barely be made out, heavily hued into blue, outlines and shadows just barely visible.
One can pass from Eden to Goloka elsewhere with relative ease, something that was (naturally) discovered post punch-through, and requires intimate knowledge of the fabric of Twilight to do without a guide. Essentially, the art of passing through Twilight outside the punch-through zone (called The Goloka Sapphire, or just Sapphire in vernacular) boils down to knowing where Twilight is thinnest and at which angle to move oneself to pass through it or how to aid transition with magic. No magic is required, though it is suggested. (The Bermuda Triangle is a space in Eden-continuum where Twilight is thinnest.)
The Sapphire itself is rarely used as a means to travel from Eden to Goloka - the dome itself can just be passed through with only minimal resistence, like a receding plastic wall, only about three metres thick, with no harm but for lack of oxygen coming to people within its walls, but it has the tendency to obliterate anything that passes through if there's any stirring in the dome's inherent position at all, even on microscopic scales… which is something that happens frequently enough to be a hazard.
Since no respective punch-through exists in Goloka, however, the Sapphire is a location in Eden, only, and Goloka-to-Eden travel must by definition be done via regular Twilight everywhere, anyway. Attempting Twilight-travel out of Goloka while within the Sapphire, however, will kill the traveller, as there is no Eden to pass to.
Shahrivar is Goloka's dragon deity. It is claimed to be immortal, omniscient and omnipotent, but not omnipresent. (Effectively, it is immortal, very wise and very powerful, with no omni* about it.) It has no gender, but most who have interacted with it err on the side of female, given its personality and specific powers:
Shahrivar is famously peaceful, diplomatic and helpful, priding herself a good listener and felling decisions with much care and empathy.
Shahrivar lives in the centre of the Sapphire, Goloka-side, despite its invisibility within the Golokan world. Her lair has been set up around her, built over the years as a shrine while she has remained at the centre.
A good amount of her magical power has for many decades now been the paralysis of the Sapphire, which would otherwise rapidly expand until none of Eden remained to expand into, much akin to a false vacuum disaster.
Unfortunately, while wise and kind and helpful beyond words, she does come with one snag: Her metabolism is laid out for the consumption of human beings only. She has tried to give the human populace as much control as possible over their fate, and many of the humans she has consumed over time have come to her willingly in noble and admiring (and admirable) self-sacrifice, but needless to say her very existence still strikes unease into Edenites and Golokan humans, and despite her benevolence is a common scare-story to tell children if they misbehave.
It is Shahrivar's peculiar appetite that elicits the most resistance from Eden, and the rebelliously minded have tried again and again to get far enough with their plans to kill her, presuming her relation to the Sapphire to be a tactic only, and her demeanour fake, like a serpent lying in an attempt to lure mankind into its own demise.
The situation is further escalated by Shahrivar's inability to speak a language other than her own, meaning that no one but the Oracles themselves know what Shahrivar is saying, though when directly in her presence it is usually clear that the translation is correct.
Shahrivar's ability to do feats of magic greatly depend on how well-fed she is. Healing a wound might be a smaller task, but something like creating a portal to another world would require vast energy reserves that she normally doesn't even have - she usually tries to eat at little as possible. The degree of magic available to her can be seen by the sheen of her scales. Entirely drained of magic potential, Shahrivar is a pure silver. Charged, her scales are an iridescent patchwork of colour, largely metallic purples. Usually when visiting her, a fair number of stray scales will be purple, and it is almost unheard of that more than a quarter of her hide is not silver.
→ has his own article @ Joukahainen.
An ex-Oracle in that he no longer translates for anyone but the Griffins, Cassian is superficially cheerful, outgoing and helpful, but in fact deeply anti-social and with light OCD, making him socially unfit. Like all Oracles, he is still easily affected by Shahrivar's presence should he choose to go to her, though, thus being entirely bearable while in her castle or around it.
Cassian's most notable physical feature is his long straight hair, reaching down almost to his ankles. He has a very boyish appearance, being in his early twenties, and a bright sparkle to his eyes. Initial impressions of him lie somewhere between 'charming' and 'annoying', depending on his degree of fascination with subjects discussed.
English is almost unheard of in either world. It used to be a lingua franca in Eden, along with French, as was the case in the real world until historic events diverged.
Ironically, these days, the only speakers of English tend to be select, small tribes of trolls, though even in them it tends to be a second language, a quaint hobby rather than a cultural asset.
Beyond that, language scholars might know of English, though the fewest would understand it to the point of being able to be communicated with on that level.
Of course, Oracles typically easily speak it.
Also known as Human (amongst Oracles) or Effery (colloquial, play on 'every'), Golokan is the language most widely spoken in both Eden and Goloka. It is a traditionally human tongue, but given their dominance as a species, has become the lingua franca.
Of the other major species, it can be said that a large majority of them would understand basic Golokan, much like English is spread through-out Europe today.
The notable exceptions are Griffins, who refuse to speak it, and Trolls who speak it.
- “Tach!” Hello!
- “Atte sprake rode di?” What language do you speak?
Griffin, or as their native tongue calls it, Krith, is a fairly hard-edged aggressive tongue, ironically belonging to a herbivorous species. Nonetheless, griffins are easily the strongest sapient species in Goloka and have from the times of Eden war as well as before then established themselves as a very militaristic species as a whole.
When the last war ended, feeling exploited, considerably decimated in numbers at the time, the Griffins swore to cease interaction with the other sapient species, withdrawing into a xenophobic flavour of neutrality. They largely avoid other species and have a cultural ban on speaking anything but Krith, though if someone knows their way around their language, they will not eschew conversation with them (though they may be fairly rude and pushy about it).
- “Vask varrara to za?” What do you want (here)? / What are you doing (here)?
- “Hadr ney.” Slow down / Relax.
- “Karr za vedeth ardaka.” Let the captive go. / Release the prisoner.
- “Sarte!” Careful!
- “Kelach.” Fine.
- “Yir vesket, Shahrivar?” Let's go, [to] Shahrivar?
Only Oracles understand Shahrivar's tongue.
- “Ey nata sam ju ivi.” I come with another visitor.
There are many other languages spoken in Goloka, and a few stray languages in Eden. They'll be made available as knowledge of them becomes necessary, or are mentioned.