Azimuth is the name of the world in which the Cloudgazer stories take place.
Azimuth uses the Gregorian calendar, but has two summers and two winters every year. These are known as First Summer, First Winter, Second Summer and Second Winter, changing in 3 month cycles.
The lowest cloud level, the point where the weather is invariably highly volatile, is known as the Understorm. In aeronautical terms the boundary to this layer is known as Mean underStorm Level or MSL. It forms the datum from which all altitude is measured. Most human habitation resides between 500m - 3000m MSL.
The planet is a gas giant, roughly three and a half times bigger than Earth. The gravity is roughly the same, because it is mostly composed of gas with a liquid metal core. It orbits its star in roughly 6.21 terran months, leading to the calendar being adapted slightly. By adding an additional 12 days throughout the year, every 6 months the planet orbits the sun; hence (in order) you get First Winter, First Summer, Second Winter and Second Summer. The seasons are also known in some parts of the world (notably Ganzabar) as Fall, Blast, Hail and Havenfall respectively.
This was not done merely to accomodate human conventions. Azimuth's star, Kelus, actually has a dwarf binary partner that orbits in a 2:1 resonance with Azimuth itself. In other words, every other year Kelus B alternates between being in front of the visible sun (Kelus A) and behind it. The orbits in which the dwarf are toward Azimuth are warmer; these are the First seasons. The Second seasons are the two where the dwarf is behind, thus are slightly cooler.
The planet is of course inhabited by humans, but other species also cohabit Azimuth. These are split into two groups: the Terrazoa and the Endemoa, which are genetically unrelated. The former are mostly symbiotic with human settlements, such as dogs; while the latter tend to be wilder and less understood, such as the mysterious Helm Ghost.
Civilisation before the Gold Age
Many thinkers have pointed out that in order for humans to survive in Azimuth, technology of the Gold Age was required. This has led to many questions regarding humankind prior to the Gold Age. The popular theory is that humans originated from somewhere else entirely, and came to Azimuth many millenia ago.
The Gold Age Era
See: Gold Age
Earliest recorded history tells of humans living in Azimuth for at least the last 3,000 years. During most of this time, the world was actually administered by a single super-nation, known as the Azrune. This era was referred to at the time as the Unity Age. Later centuries would call it the Gold Age. It represented a high point of social and technological progress.
See: The Collapse
Gradually, over the centuries, factions formed within the Azrune and began to break away from it; at first peacefully and then eventually with bloodshed. Over just thirty years, the global union was whittled away by war, treachery and a cultural rebellion against world unity.
The Long Aftermath
See: The Long Aftermath
This period, immediately following the Collapse, was a dark ages of many centuries of decay and ruin. Although most of the destruction wrought came earlier, the age marked the apex of piracy in the skies. Nubylon and the remainder of central Azrune shut its airspace completely to outsiders.
The New Age
See: New Age
Marked by the first envoys from other nations to be allowed into Azrune, the New Age ushered in a flurry of optimistic centuries of advancement as new nations grew from the clans and fiefs that had ruled previously. The New Codes of Honour and chivalrous ideals emerged.
The Bloodied Skies Era
See: Bloodied Skies Era
Also known as the Modern Era, the beginning of the Bloodied Skies Era was marked by the declaration of war by Great Brazak on the Republic of Capridor. This sparked a widespread conflict known post-contemporously as the Great Nezzu War. Toward the Liberation War and post-Occupation Of Great Brazak, there was a marked and steady decline in the ideals of honour.
Azimuth is dominated by a fairly small number of languages, but they are fractured by a plethora of dialects; just as might be expected for a culture that is a distant descendant of globalisation.
- Azbuka - The most commonly spoken language in the world
- Baseeq - Second most widespread lingua, most prevalent in areas of Aquitano culture
- Dinjari - Mostly found in Beyjuk communities and Lystrata.
- Guba Jango - Or "slave tongue", is a semi-symbiotic language with Dinjari
- Yutangan - Considered an archaic, sometimes even dead, language. Originates with Yumanni culture.
- Valinn - Spoken by many Valyans, particularly in the Valya Free States.