Initiates locate Worlds by searching for human intelligences, they can
only find Worlds where humans exist, leading to certain similarities
between all known Worlds. Every World Denayi rules, has contacted, or
heard of from other Circles, falls within tightly defined parameters,
suggesting that each of them are parallel Earths and not alien planets.
Every known World has the same diameter, gravity, angle of rotation and
length of year as every other. Each has one moon, of the same size and
composition as our own. Each is (or originally was) inhabited by human
beings, and has flora and fauna of the same basic types (birds, mammals,
etc) as our own Earth. All known Worlds share 90% of their flora and fauna
in common, and on most the figure approaches 98% thanks to the
transmission of species across Worlds. For example, there are many special
kinds of animals or birds, but no dinosaurs or trilobites.
Beyond these basic similarities, Worlds differ somewhat: continents and
land masses vary in shape and coverage. Stellar constellations and
planets, even the surface of the moon, look very different. Geography is
inconstant. Some have a single large continent, others have only a few
small islands, widely scattered. On all Worlds there are unique animals
and plants not found elsewhere. Human cultures show great diversity; no
two indigenous societies on different Worlds have ever been found that
share languages or cultures. Even human bodies differ: showing different
combinations of secondary features and skin tones. At the time of contact,
some societies have been in the stone age, others have had fully
industrialized nation-states. Most were somewhere in between.
Denayi finds and contacts other Worlds by magic. Trained Initiates draw
upon the power of the Circle to send their minds out into what they call
the "Void," seeking out the faint traces of other human
intelligences. Sometimes they find none. Sometimes they are driven mad.
Sometimes they find ghostly echoes of Worlds that might be, or might have
been. Very occasionally, they locate a World that seems solid, and return
sane to report its existence to their Circle. If they can locate it again,
they will examine it to determine its approximate population. From this,
they may make a guess at its technology level, and decide whether or not
it is worth opening a Gate there. Sometimes they guess wrong, and open a
Gate to a world with greater technology than they expected, or find that
the world is merely an echo, and that no Gate may be opened.
This (combined with the fact that no two Worlds have ever been found to
have more than co-incidental linguistic or cultural similarity) suggests
that not every possible parallel Earth exists – even that some force
interferes with the actualization of Worlds which are too similar. One
popular theory suggests that every World found represents a separate
alternate history of Denayi’s own World that branched away some time in
prehistory, explaining the wide overlap of species on different Worlds.
Yet, none can explain why, if this is so, major land masses and even
stellar constellations should differ, as these (presumably) would have
become set long before humans evolved. Another explanation posits that
Worlds have no common divergence point, but that any World, anywhere, that
produced human beings would also produce similar animals and plants, and
have a similar gravity and atmosphere. None can say, and most Circle
members are not inclined to speculate on such philosophic matters
The Pylon’s appetite is enormous, and Denayi sates it by dominating
entire worlds. These worlds can be divided into two categories: those kept
for material resources, and those kept to generate souls.
Denayi need some Worlds to produce troops for their armies, to grow
food for its people, and to produce the weapons necessary for defense.
Worlds reserved for these purposes are usually referred to as Core Worlds.
Denayi encourages the production of art and luxury goods in its Core
Worlds. Such fertile worlds have many gates linking to
each other and to Denayi proper so as to facilitate trade and the movement
of armies. The tax on souls in the Core Worlds is minimal
Denayi controls a much larger set of Worlds that they harvest for
souls. On most worlds, it prefers to take a percentage of the population
each few years. In the past, however, it has systematically "harvested"
entire Worlds every two to three generations, leaving only enough behind to
Saddest of all are those worlds which are completely empty. At times in
the past, Denayi has preferred not to deal with the lingering resentment
that comes after a Soul Tax or has required more souls than a tax can
provide. Denayi possess an abundance of sealed Gates that lead to the
husks of worlds it has depopulated. Such rapacious practices have fallen
into disfavor, but none save the Circle knows how many hundreds of such
worlds there might be, nor can even its members say when it might be
necessary to create more.