Keerat (Pronounced KEER-UT), is the Homeworld of the ruthless and warlike Taik. Keerat is the 2nd planet orbiting the star, Kirien, in the north-east quadrant. Keerat is dominated by vast deserts contrasted by frozen wastelands. A strip of dense jungles is present between these two extremes. When compared to Earth, Keerat is roughly double in size, and its gravity is correspondingly high. Its harsh living conditions, notably its high gravity, are theorized as being responsible for the Taik's immense strength.
Keerat literally translates as "Island of the Black Ocean", refering to an ancient Taik myth that the planet is a literal island ("Keer" meaning "island") surrounded by a black ocean called At ("Shadow"). It is one of just two planets orbiting Kirien, a white dwarf star. It has an orbital period of 3.3 EY (Earth Years).
The time it takes Keerat to orbit Kirien is identical to the time it takes for it to complete one spin on its axis. This means that one side of Keerat is always facing the star, and one side is always facing space. Subsequently, the side facing Kirien is made up entirely of vast, largely inhospitable deserts. Notably, the "Hot equator" has practically no liquids to speak of. Conversly, the side facing space recieves no heat from Kirien, and is completely frozen. Here, temperatures plummet to equally inhospitable levels, with the "Cold equator" nearing absolute zero. In spite of this, many of Keerat's life forms live in these extremes. The Taik, for instance, are native to the desert half of the planet. Located between the two extremes is a relatively thin strip of land with a warm, humid climate, refered to as the "Neutral equator". Dense jungles cover this area of land, and subsequently most of Keerat's life forms are present here.
Life forms on KeeratEdit
Keerat has little to no liquid water on it surface, and what water is present is highly toxic to native fauna. Instead Keerat's life forms rely on liquid formamide, which is arguably their most defining collective characteristic.
Generally speaking, Keerat's life forms are some of the most robust in the galaxy. They tend to live long lives, are virtually immune to alien diseases and viruses (thanks largely to the corrosive formamide in their systems), and, without exception, are all capable of incredible feats of strength.
Keerat's organisms are divided into 3 distinct categories: those that inhabit the desert half, those that live in the forzen half, and those that reside in the neutral jungle. There are several notable differences between these categories:
- Those that come from the desert half tend to be smaller and more agile. They take full advantage of Kirien, and more often than not use it as a source of energy opposed to consuming other living things. The only note-worthy exception to this are the Taik, who originated from the jungle region, but migrated towards the desert over several generations.
- Those that come from the frozen half are the largest of the three, though are also the most conserved. They rarely move, and when they do so it is very deliberate and carefully calculated. Most life forms here get their energy directly from the ground beneath them. They literally eat the ice and rocks, converting the minerals into usable energy.
- Those that come from the jungle region are a clear middle ground. They are typically larger than the desert creatures, but smaller than the frozen ones. Most life forms here are comparable to those on Earth, with very clear predator-prey interactions. Arguably the most well known life forms from this region are the Valule, who are responsible for a phenomena called Kanuta ("Cycle of Life and Death").
The Taik (literally meaning "Death Bringers") are the dominant life form on Keerat. Their vast empire spans the entirety of the planet, and they control most other life forms, typically either as lifestock or as crude but effective means of biological warfare. The Taik originated from the jungle region, and evolved as brutal pack hunters. Over time they migrated to the desert region, which had them further evolve into the deadly creatures they are now.
The Valule (literally meaning "Harbingers of the Black Forest") are among the most impressive -and most bizarre- life forms in the galaxy. Rivaling small mountains in terms of height, they are easily the largest. Valule have a unique place in Taik culture. They are revered as demigods in physcial form, and many tribal rituals are still held in their honor. This status is belived to be responsible for the Taiks' sense of personal strength and need for combat (eg. "We can kill gods, by all rights you should bow to us."). The Valule are so large that some have Taik cities built right onto their backs. The oldest valule have full forests that feed on the nutrients in their systems. The Valule are commonly used as biological warfare by the Taik.
Kanuta - The Cycle of Life and DeathEdit
The Valule are repsonsible for one of Keerat's most well known phenomena: the Cycle of Life and Death. Valule feed by burrowing themselves into the ground, where they remain for months at a time. During this time, they absorb any and all nutrients within a considerably radius. Once all the nutrients have been taken, they emerge from the ground and move onwards, where the process repeats. The Valule continuously move in a ring around the entire planet, and by the time they come full circle the nutrients will have returned. Once an area has been completely cleansed, virtually no life remains, save for black-colored fungal trees that recieve all of their energy directly from Kirien. The coming and passing of the Valule is a time-honored tradition, and is marked with a religious ceremony that lasts five days.