The map of the Eighth
The Eighth is the world that the Deadly Rooms of Death series is set in.
The Eighth's surface contains six continents and numerous other islands:
The Eighth also contains countless caverns and caves beneath its surface, all of which equals or possibly surpasses the total surface area of the aboveground world. The Rooted Empire is situated in many of the largest of these caverns, likely beneath Glorthorred.
The Eighth shaped like the eighth of a circle (hence its name) in two dimensions, but its actual shape is more complicated. When travelling east or west, the world wraps seamlessly around its leftmost and rightmost edges, so from this perspective, the Eighth is shaped like a cone. However, the northernmost point also transitions evenly into the southernmost border, so from this perspective, the Eighth is like a flat doughnut whose center point seems to collapse around to its edges.
Because the Eighth's outer edge and innermost point are contiguous, the world perhaps contains, at its very center, a minuscule copy of itself, and is also surrounded by a gigantic copy of itself. An outside observer (if one could actually exist) would see neither a circle nor a pie slice, but rather a continuous kaleidoscope of the surface repeated outwards in all directions, divided by concentric rings that are the reflections of the Eighth's sun.
Finally, the Eighth has a finite depth and sky. Lowest Point is the bottommost point in the world, but below that is open sky. As Beethro Budkin learned, this sky wraps eventually wraps back down to the surface of the Eighth. From this perspective, the Eighth is possibly shaped like a sphere with a shell of land and a core of atmosphere.
These distinct observations are irreconcilable in a purely three-dimensional universe. Therefore, the Eighth is a fourth-dimensional torus with non-Euclidean geometry.
Time and weather Edit
The sun comes up a hole in the very center of Sun Island in the morning. The island's proximity to the star keeps its surface consistently molten and utterly uninhabited. The sun falls back into the hole exactly twelve hours later, which begins nighttime. This movement is so fast that there are likely no sunrises or sunsets to note.
A year has 333 days over 9 months of 37 days each. Each day, hour, minute, and second are proportional to those units in the real world. The months are Onsuary, Twisuary, Thrisuary, Quarsuary, Quinsuary, Sensuary, Septender, Octender and Novender. Each day is colder than the last, with the seasons precessing from summer to autumn to winter. The last and coldest day of the year, Novender 37, is when the sun rises to the point farthest away from the Eighth. This is immediately followed by the hottest day, a new year, and the Onsuary Floods due to the immediate change in temperature.
Science and knowledge Edit
Due to their similar origin and relative interconnectedness, the surface civilizations of the Eighth are at approximately the same technological level. For the most part, humanity exists in a pre-industrial but post-exploration age, with sophisticated sailing and navigation technology, but little automated machinery or fuel-powered devices. Wars are waged by the sword, and ideas are spread by the pen.
The Rooted Empire, having access to the knowledge of the Ancients, have a technology level and society significantly more advanced than that of the aboveground civilizations, and perhaps even that of our own in the real world. The Empire's growth has stagnated somewhat over the last few millenia, but its technology is invariably far superior to that of any other civilization of the Eighth. The Empire stores its incredible sums of knowledge in the Grand Library, by far the largest library in the Eighth.
One day, the cartographer Benedat discovered for the aboveground civilizations that the Eighth is shaped like a slice of a pie, leading to a new paradigm of thinking and a new calendar. His calendar, marked in years after Benedat's Discovery (B.D.), has been the cornerstone of timekeeping for all abovegrounders ever since.
Humans are the dominant and most widespread species on the Eighth, both above and beneath. There are no large beasts of burden, so all work is done by human hand.
Spoostlefish are a thankfully very common species of fish, trawled from the oceans by non-agricultural societies. Because their only defense mechanism consists of entering a catatonic state and going limp, they are easily chummed. If not for their prodigious population growth, they would have gone extinct long ago.
Gondola wasps Edit
Gondola wasps, named for the way their nests look, appear to be a most interesting case of adaptation on the Eighth. Before the rainy seasons hits, when the weather is hot and dry, these insects build nests high up in young trees, most of which have root systems that are undeveloped. These nests are made out of a sticky paper-like paste that the wasps excrete, and are coated with an unknown waterproof substance. When the weather turns to freezing conditions, the waterproof material breaks off. A few months later, when the rainy season finally hits, the water soaks into the paper-like material of the nest, which causes it to expand in size. The nest now floats to the top of the water, usually pulling the tree out the ground with it. The result is a large, roundish nest floating above the water with a pole sticking out of it, hence the name.
Gondola wasps tend to have lifespans that suit their environment as well. A solitary queen wasp will always create a nest immediately and start laying eggs, which can give birth to thousands of wasps within a couple of weeks. The wasps will then start to store food and build the nest up during the course of the dry season. As soon as the cold and rainy seasons start, the wasps remain in their nest, trying to survive on the rations that were saved. Ultimately, the population of the nest will start to die off as food supplies diminish. When that happens, the queen will lay a few special eggs that will eventually hatch into queens and allow the cycle to start over again.
Skriil are simple seal-like creatures that live in Rasarus, dominating the Smuggler's Maze region. Because of the hostility of the Smuggler's Maze, few people know of its existence or of any specific details about the animal. While many people have given the creature a bad reputation, it is, in fact, a friendly and generally harmless animal. The diet of a skriil consists mostly of fish, and will not get into a fight unless it is for the benefit of its offspring. Instead, it would rather use its fast swimming abilities to remove itself from a potentially dangerous situation.
Where the bad reputation comes from is probably their behavior during mating season. To draw attention to each other, the skriil make very loud noises which sound like a human scream of pain and terror. Needless to say, when a traveler enters the maze and hears that, he will be heading the other way as fast as he can.