Where Is Heaven?
For Kogoans, the realm of the gods is the Boiling Ocean. This is orthodox. This is also obvious. As one approaches the Boiling Ocean, plant life becomes more lush and varied. The wealthy regions of Kyspert are generally the lower ones. Extrapolating just a bit, the gods obviously live down that way, just a bit further.
For Vemians, as for various smaller sects in the past, the gods are purer and more subtle than is possible for matter, and so they dwell in the most matter-free regions of Kyspert, which everyone else calls the Upper Hell, and the Vemians call the Upper Heaven. (There is of course no Lower Heaven for Vemians.)
Which brings us to kyspography. At this point in Kysp’s history, kysps knew only about the inside of Kyspert. Kyspert is a flattened sphere, very flat at the bottom and not so flat at the top, a couple gross miles in longer radii and just over a gross-mile high. It is surrounded by a shell that is precisely 23.87 yards thick, and frictionless, and a lattice of a peculiar metal held in place by tangential coibrations — but that is getting ahead of the story, for Roroku the analysis mage figured that out.
Kysps, of course, live on the inside of Kyspert.
The bottom of the world is full of the Boiling Ocean. For reasons that were then not known, the bottom of the world was quite hot: specifically, at about the boiling point of the rich mineral broth that makes a half-mile-deep ocean. Again getting ahead of the story, the broth is more than a twelfth minerals and other interesting substances. More importantly, the steam from the broth is nearly three parts per 144 composed of minerals and other interesting substances, and this hearty steam is what scorals and epiphytes feed upon.
And to get far ahead of the story, the Boiling Ocean is not a deadly desert. Oh, no ordinary creature with less protection than a dragon’s spells can live there. But a limited but vibrant ecology of heat-loving plankton and krill and whatnots lives there. The actually boiling parts of the ocean are too hot for them, but they flourish in the cooler areas.
The mile or two above the Boiling Ocean is the Cooked Layer. It’s hot! And humid! And hot! And rainy! And hot! Kysps can’t live there; they get steamed to death. Other things can and do. Scorals and epiphytes, of course, of species adapted for lots of steam. Cold-tolerant crawling things that are probably relatives of the krill in the Boiling Ocean. Heat-tolerant larger things that are clearly relatives of animals that live above.
Kysps wearing breathing gear and protective suits had been exploring the Cooked Layer now and then for the last few duodecades. Lots of them died. The survivors brought back wondrous tales of gigantic plants, bizarrely-mutated animals, lush steam forests. So they kept on exploring, and generally but not always dying.
This is where kysps live. It’s seven to ten miles thick, with the middle seven miles being temperate and comfortable to kysps (or, say, vilely hot for hovens, not that any hovens are ever going to Kyspert). The mile or two below the middle seven is very hot but endurable, and kysps live there. The mile or two above the middle seven is very cold and arid, but endurable, and kysps live there.
It (and the Cooked Layer and Gasping Layer) is full of scoral islands, which levitate on their own, and which repel each other. They mostly keep their relative positions, unless there’s weather to shove them around, but there’s always weather in the Habitations. A third of Kyspert is sure to be in the middle of a rainstorm at any given time. Scorals are packed fairly densely, with a gap of perhaps a twelfth of a mile between the edge of one and the edge of the next. A quick flight for us, or a straightforward hop with a glider will get you from one to another without any trouble. Yes, even going up: the Boiling Ocean gives all the thermals you could possibly want.)
The Gasping Layer
The air gets thinner and colder as one goes up. At some point it stops being worthwhile for kysps to live there. Other creatures have other opinions, so the Gasping Layer is a mile or four of wastelands and beastlands. By “cold” they mean “comfortable to hovens”, or rather, they don’t mean that, having no concept of hovens.
Upper Hell (Vemian: Upper Heaven)
Eventually it gets too cold and tenuous for animals, plants, and scoral. It’s rather odd to have a contained world that doesn’t have air all the way through. In the Typical Toroid that is Hove, or indeed that is Typical, there’s atmosphere everywhere. But Kyspert’s atmosphere is just at the bottom of the world, like the atmosphere on a Basic Ball. That should have been a clue.
Now, back to theology where we belong.Support this project! Show that you’re reading it by exchanging notes with the characters, other readers, the writer, and occasional other entities at sythyry.livejournal.com. And/or buy Bard Bloom’s books on Amazon, especially Mating Flight and World in My Claws, the prequel to this story. Also: Glossary and Dramatis Personae.