The Northeast region that is thick with vegetation and bodies of water, Solarwood is a fiefdom of the Republic that is noted for its advancements in cultural progression and educational industry. The significantly humid climate of Solarwood is a byproduct of the Skyder’s malfunction during the Catastrophe. Though predominantly notable for its lush and vibrant forest lands, Solarwood is also comprised of rivers, meadows and farmlands. With the greatest point of interest being Burkhalter’s Academy, the Republic’s preeminent educational institution and the region’s capital, the land is ripe with students’ inventions and breakthroughs.
Woods of Curiosity
During the terraforming and colonization era, Pangaea witnessed an anomaly, in the form of the previously barren Galilean moon of Thanabus producing fauna en masse. Among the new characteristics was the emergence of a lush and fertile forest that utterly covered the northern hemisphere of the moon. Though the lands west of the mountain range bisecting this region was the prime candidate for colonists, the eastern half was a point of interest for knowledge-seeking astronomers.
The first settlers to the eastern half of Solarwood were members of the Nicholson Astronomical Foundation, led by Dr. Alastair Burkhalter. Representing a branch of Pangaea’s greater scientific exploration committee, the Foundation began construction on Apsis Observatory, elevated high above the tree line. Once established, Apsis Observatory served as not only an advanced tool for astronomical studies, but a leading beacon in efforts to search extraterrestrial civilizations. Thus, with Governor Beau Abel’s authorization, the observatory began sending communications into deep space.
In four years’ time, Burkhalter’s efforts were seemingly answered – with dire consequences to follow. An extremely powerful entity called Starzhen arrived, controlling an entire planetoid as his vessel. Starzhen claimed to have been tracing a “threat” for hundreds of years that had recently emerged once again with humanity’s reckless transmissions. Pangaea as a whole concluded that Starzhen had considered them a rising power with the potential to conquer the stars; Starzhen was there to repress.
For the next five years, Burkhalter questioned his eagerness to call for others amongst the stars, as he lost sleep to monitoring Starzhen through Apsis’ lens. Was answering the existence of extraterrestrial life worth the possibility of annihilation? For every one of these unwelcome answers, there would be two new unwelcome questions.
From Starzhen’s actions against Jupiter and Pangaea’s reaction against it, the extraterrestrial threat was neutralized, with the apocalyptic Catastrophe following in its wake. Apsis Observatory was critically damaged, with Alastair Burkhalter losing his life in the process.
It would be over a year before the survivors from the Nicholson Astronomical Society would receive visitors. The newly-founded Republic from Ediseau informed the survivors of Pangaea’s fall, as well as their promise to take Solarwood under their wing, to provide security and support, in exchange for loyalty and a continuation of their academic knowledge. As such, Apsis Observatory was rebuilt with ramshackle mortar and soon the tower became the center of a growing community – an academy named after Alastair Burkhalter. Ever since, Solarwood has received pupils from across Thanabus and has been at the forefront of the quest for knowledge—so long as it does not retread the steps that brought about the Catastrophe.
The Land Today
Though once devastated and halved by the Catastrophe, the subsequent hundreds of years have been kind to what remains of Solarwood. The forest is an expansive, serene territory that features a sea of trees and rolling hills with footpaths that follow the contours of the land. Simple farms dot the land, with ancient structures, styled by ancestors from Pangaea, remaining as monumental reminders of what once was, for better and for worse. The western border shared by Ediseau is lined by a mountain range called the Hills of Creation, where only the most affluent maintain private residences.
Capital: Burkhalter’s Academy
Within the interior of Solarwood lies the city and eponymous school called Burkhalter’s Academy. Constructed around the remnants of Apsis Observatory, the city remains an everlasting hub for academics, as well as denizens who seek to make an honest living in a school community. Surrounding Apsis Tower, which includes the original observatory and the Headmaster’s Quarters, is an array of buildings in close proximity of one another. Despite the Republic’s overt presence, there are plenty of mysteries circling Burkhalter’s, including deep dungeons and unscrupulous characters working beyond the government’s watchful eye.
Ruler: Dalcor Kritana
Born and raised in Duskeron, under the rod of his father who was a Voice – a high priest of the ancient Autonaut religion – the young Kritana rebelled against his upbringing and pursued a career in science. Having excelled at Burkhalter’s, Kritana graduated from the academy and became the Dean of Physics at a young age. Tragedy struck, however, as he was informed that the lives of his parents and their congregation were lost in a bombing, leaving no survivors of the Autonaut religion. Though emotionally leveled, Kritana was saved by his new ally, President Arch Claudius, who inspired him, lifted his spirits and eventually selected him as the new Headmaster of Burkhalter’s Academy. A loyal man, Kritana is forever grateful to the Republic and Claudius for all their support. Yet, he finds himself at odds with his ruler, due to their differences in academic trajectory; though Claudius wishes for a conservative way of research, Kritana believes that Thanabus can – and deserves – to regain its glory from its few years as a Pangaean colony.