Ultima Phoenicia

Information Sheet

Map Basic Data Planetary Image
Ultima%20Phoenicia.png?dl=0 Name: Ultima Phoenicia Ultima%20Phoenicia%20Globe%20small.png?dl=0
Segmentum: Ultima Segmentum
Sector: Levatia Sector
Subsector: Hecatean Subsector
System: Ultima Phoenician System
Population: 9.6 Billion
Affiliation: Imperium
Class: Civilized World
Tithe Grade: Exactis Particular

Geography and Natural Features

Basic Facts

Ultima Phoenicia is the fifth planet of the Ultima Phoenicia System, and is the only planet in its system fit for long-term widespread human settlement. Conditions are optimal for human settlement, with gravity measured at 0.96g and the world itself estimated to be 1.24 times the size of Terra. Its atmospheric composition is made up mostly of nitrogen followed by oxygen and is well within optimal parameters for human compatibility. It has three small natural satellites. The two largest are Nykka and Jaykha. Both are tidally locked moons possessing similar orbits and are typically seen together in the night sky, and both are also home to extensive mining facilities. The third natural satellite is Khemus, a small and highly erratic moon which is not tidally locked. Local custom associates Khemus with ill fortune, and travel to the moon is highly rare. It hosts no facilities of any kind.

The surface of Ultima Phoenicia is majority water. Most of the land surface is concentrated across four continents, with the two largest sitting in the northern hemisphere. 86% of the land surface is considered to be arable land, and the vast majority of the planet is given over to land use. Of the arable land available, 46% is used for agriculture, 51% consists of forest and 3% consist of urban areas. 85% of the population live in urban areas.

Ultima Phoenicia is considered to be very geologically stable, with earthquakes being rare and volcanic eruptions proving only rarely destructive.

Climate

Ultima Phoenicia has a highly unusual climate by Imperial standards. The global climate is practically uniform across the entire planet with the exception of the polar ice caps. This uniform climate is mildly and pleasantly warm, sitting at an average of 28 degrees celsius, and becomes somewhat warmer around the equator. Most notably, seasonal changes have a limited effect on the global climate, to the point where concepts such as 'winter' are poorly understood by the common populace. Instead, Ultima Phoenicia is said to be in a state of 'eternal springtime'.

The climate is not a product of the world's natural systems. Ultima Phoenicia is home to an extremely rare and ancient archaeotech system known as the Climatorium, a massive and powerful wonder of technology that exerts complete control over the world's climate. The Climatorium exists as a number of automated surface and subterranean facilities which dot the planet, with the largest 'core' system existing on the northern continent of Tyria. Multiple large orbiting satellites also play a presumably vital role. In fact, although the effect of the Climatorium is known, the actual mechanisms by which it accomplishes what it does are a mystery. Fortunately, the Climatorium is quite rugged and maintaining the system is well within the capabilities of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Duplicating it, however, is not.

The 'perfect' climate of Ultima Phoenicia means that the planet has no deserts; most of the terrain is fertile, temperate land. The weather is exceedingly predictable, to the point where the average citizen is capable of procuring a calendar with the weather charted out a full year in advance. Such calendars typically have an accuracy rate of 99%. Rainfall is regular, and often mild, and is also highly predictable. These factors and others contribute greatly to Ultima Phoenicia's high agricultural output.

Landmasses

Ultima Phoenicia's land surface is predominantly concentrated on four continents- Tyria, Sydonia, Jubal and Arphade. Numerous island chains dot the seas between these continents.

Tyria

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Tyria is an Ultima Phoenician continent; on most standard projections, it occupies the northwest. Tyria is a latitudinal continent, and much of the terrain, flora and fauna are similar from the west coast to the east. The land is typically gentle and low-lying, with small mountain ranges running through the interior.

Out of all the continents, Tyria is the most densely populated, and is home to 4.7 billion people, or nearly half of the entire planetary population. Most of Tyria's population live in one of its 914 urban centres, with the remainder living in smaller towns or in rural agricultural settlements. As expected, Tyria is also the most developed of Ultima Phoenicia's continents, and very little of its terrain has been left untouched. Of all the continents, Tyria has the fewest forests, and all of these are painstakingly maintained and perfected by human cultivation rather than left to their own devices.

Tyria's large population and high levels of development have ensured its place as the leading economical and political centre of the planet. Ten of Ultima Phoenicia's most important cities are based on the continent, including the Planetary Capital, Balsura.

Major Cities of Tyria

Balsura: The planetary capital and home to Ultima Phoenicia's government and administrative bodies. It is a teeming, sprawling metropolis of 40 million people, built along the banks of the Sura river, which flows into the Golden Bay. The city dominates the landscape for hundreds of kilometres in every direction, so in reality the Prefect of Balsura has power over nearly a billion people. Balsura is a powerful planetary economic engine and a hub of industry; every day the Golden Bay teems with cargo ships bringing food and materials to the city, and leaving with equipment and tools. The Climatorium Core Tower rises into the sky over Balsura at a height that not even its tallest spires match.

Balsura is the traditional demesne of the House of Hyram, the planetary ruling house. According to local legend, Hyram I, First Lord of Balsura and Lord Protector of the Tyrian League, founded the city as his capital. It remained such after he went on to unify the planet, cementing its role, which has persisted to this day. Although no reliable records exist to date the planet's unification or the founding of Balsura, even the earliest historical records note Balsura as being the planetary capital, suggesting that it has maintained this role for at least 8,000 years.

Anarta: A city of 19 million lying in the Valley of Faith within the Mittanian Mountains. Anarta is a cathedral city and the centre of religious authority on Phoenicia. As such it does not belong to any one noble House, instead being administered by the Ecclesiarchy. The most senior religious figure on Phoenicia, the Pontifex Mundi, is thus simultaneously First Lord of Anarta.

Balsafra: A city of 14 million perched on the northern coast of Tyria, Balsafra and the cities it dominates are notable as being the source of over two thirds of Phoenicia's clothing, ranging from basic uniforms and overalls to the elaborate and extremely luxurious ghost silks favoured by the nobility. It is the traditional demesne of the House of Esar, traditional enemies of the ruling House of Hyram.

Cyrte: A city of 22 million sitting on the Great Lake Atar. The city is an important industrial centre and leads the planet in the production of vehicles, especially personal transports and heavy duty work vehicles. The traditional nobility of Cyrte was the House of Banypia; however, the House was destroyed in 655.M39. Ever since, the title of First Lord of Cyrte has rotated on a biennial basis between the most powerful merchant families of the city.

Hyram's Bridge: A city of 30 million and the largest settlement on the island of Yama. Hyram's Bridge is home to Phoenicia's largest and most important spaceport. A huge volume of traffic flows between the city and outer space, importing raw materials for the planet's industries, and exporting produced goods, tools, food and luxuries. It is part of the demesne of the House of Hyram, and according to traditional legends, was founded by Hyram I after he unified the planet.

Kyton: A city of 39 million, sitting to the east of the Avalart Mountains. For much of its history Kyton has been the nerve centre of Tyria's raw material processing. Minerals would be mined from deep caverns within the Avalart Mountains and shipped to Kyton to be processed, which would then be shipped off to industrial centres. With the mineral resource returns of Tyria having steadily diminished over the last two millennia, the city has slowly undertaken a transformation. It now exports miners and advanced mining equipment to be used on nearby worlds and asteroids. It is the traditional demesne of the House of Ishbaal.

Mulaqart: A city of 19 million, sitting on the coast of the Dyed Sea. Mulaqart has been heavily focused on the ocean for practically all of its history, both in the form of fishing fleets and by reaping natural dyes from certain sea plants and creatures. Clothes prepared with these dyes are highly desired amongst the wealthiest classes not only on Phoenicia, but on many other worlds as well, making the Mulaqart Dye industry one of the planet's most lucrative. The seas around Mulaqart are made up of a seemingly endless range of artificial transparent hills and bubbles, used to cultivate the creatures that produce this valuable cash crop. The traditional rulers of Mulaqart are the eponymous House of Mula, a House known in history for its legendary hatred of the House of Hyram.

Palayta: A city of 27 million, straddling the Palaytian Sea. Palayta is an industrial centre focused heavily around shipbuilding, and Palaytian vessels are ubiquitous on the oceans of Phoenicia. The House of Atirat rule Palayta and its territory, and have long been traditional allies of the House of Hyram.

Tarqart: A city of 12 million, sitting on the southern end of the Golden Bay. The city is a hub of education and technology, and many facilities exist to train the next generation of scribes, leaders, and teachers. The city owes much of its influence to the heavy presence of the Adeptus Mechanicus within the city. The Adeptus Mechanicus have a real stake in maintaining and studying the archeotech of Phoenicia, and in exchange for their many boons, the House of Hyram transferred control of Tarqart to the Mechanicus to use as a base and specialised manufacturing centre. As a result, the First Lord of Tarqart is whoever happens to be the most senior-ranking Techpriest on the planet.

Ushiya: A city of 20 million permanent residents nestled atop the Leboran Roughlands. Ushiya is a massive fortress city which serves as Phoenicia's military headquarters. It is responsible for administrating the 300 million strong Phoenician Planetary Defense Force as well as the Phoenician Defense Fleet. The city is thus unsurprisingly a large manufacturer of military equipment. The traditional rulers of Ushiya are the House of Hyram.

Sydonia

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Sydonia is an Ultima Phoenician continent; on most standard projections, it occupies the northeast. Sydonia is generally a longitudinal continent, and as a result the land is typically much more rugged and varied compared to the rest of the planet. The Great Sydonian Peaks run through the heart of the continent, starting on the north coast and running straight down to the southern peninsula. This essentially divides the continent into two halves, with the western side having some similarities with Tyria, whilst the eastern side is more varied.

Despite being larger than Tyria, Sydonia is more sparsely populated, and is home to 2.9 billion people. Sydonia has fewer urban centres than Tyria, numbering at 811. These urban centres tend to be more spread out as well. Sydonia's rugged terrain has made colonising some areas difficult, even after millennia; furthermore, local cultural mores tend towards appreciating the beautiful, majestic unspoiled regions of the planet. As a result, Sydonia is the one continent with a significant portion of 'pristine' land. A good deal of Sydonia's pastoral lands are given over to trees or other flora that can't be easily cultivated near cities, leaving whole areas thick with forests. Many of these forests are made up of Phoenician cedar, a hard, yet attractive red coloured wood. Phoenician cedar furniture remains an extremely desirable luxury item for both Phoenicia and many of its interstellar trading partners and forms an important sector of the Sydonian economy. Cedar trees can take many years to properly grow, providing a limit to supply which ensures a good price for Phoenician traders.

All of this has contributed to an image of Sydonia as a seemingly paradoxical mix of cosmopolitan culture and self-reliant frontier living.

Sydonia's cities are considered to be amongst the most influential on the planet, rivaling and sometimes exceeding that of Tyria's great metropolises. Records suggest that much of Phoenician history has been shaped by the constant tug of war between Tyria and Sydonia.

Major Cities of Sydonia

Asirbal: A city of 37 million, and Sydonia's largest and wealthiest city. It sits on the eastern coast of Sydonia, and all of Sydonia east of the city is counted as part of its massive demesne. For millennia, Asirbal has been considered Phoenicia's 'second city', with only Balsura being larger and more powerful. It has a strong industrial base producing all manner of products, although this is not where its greatest strengths lie. Instead, Asirbal serves as Phoenicia's financial centre, where the great merchant houses of Phoenicia and beyond meet, discuss matters of trade and negotiate deals of staggering magnitude. Elaborate and wealthy banking guilds, some of which possess influence in dozens of systems, secure loans and payments for promising potential captains, which goes towards paying for their charter, securing route licenses and procuring the required cargoes. The intent, of course, is profit for all.

Although Asirbal has never been the planetary capital, there have been times where Balsura's practical power has waned and Asirbal's own has waxed.

The House of Eshman has ruled Asirbal for millennia, with the start of their rule predating any reliable form of record. According to legend, Eshman himself was a merchant; the richest man on Phoenicia, in fact, who simply purchased the city and its demesne from its previous rulers. His wealth, his economic mastery and his ruling philosophy ran counter to the typical noble mindset, and helped develop a prosperous middle class in his lands. As a result, the rule of nobility counts for much less in Asirbal than it does in other parts of Phoenicia. To this day, Asirbal retains this mindset, which can be summed up in an apocryphal quote from Eshman himself: Any man who can earn himself enough money to buy a noble title is worthier to it than any lordling born to the purple.

Atharqart: A city of 3 million, nestled within the heart of the Great Sidonian Peaks. Although the city is moderately prosperous, the city would be counted as simply one amongst hundreds of other smaller cities in Sidonia if not for one thing: the city's territory plays host to the main Astropathic Choirs used by Phoenicia to communicate with the rest of the Imperium. Astropathic relays built in secluded temples high atop the Sidonian Peaks host these Choirs, who are all in turn sustained and supported by Atharqart. Atharqart sits at the foothills of the tallest mountains in Phoenicia, making them perfect for use as Astropathic relays, since Astropaths, sensibly, prefer to be rather secluded from the major population. These mountains are also the only places in Phoenicia which still host large populations of Phoenician Firebirds, which are highly sought after by Psykers and Astropaths due to their natural traits.

The traditional rulers of Atharqart are the House of Bynipal, who have typically been neutral in the great power struggles of the Great Houses.

Awalqa: A city of 16 million, sitting on the tip of the Khasit Peninsula. Awalqa is a well-developed manufacturing centre dedicated to producing sea-going ships as well as aeronautica. It is the leading manufacturer of combat aircraft on Phoenicia. The House of Kotar are the traditional rulers of Awalqa, and have typically been allied with House Eshman, albeit only because the Eshmanites are typically able to meet their price.

Druja: A city of 15 million, perched on the west coast of the Khasit Peninsula. The city has long been considered a 'middle ground' between Sidonia and Tyria, and to this day acts as a cultural anchor for both continents and by extension, most of the planet. Much of the upper class patronise Druja's opera halls, theatres and ball rooms, whilst holovids for mass consumption are produced by the dozens in vidhalls all throughout the city.

The traditional rulers of Druja are the House of Markod, who served an instrumental role in bringing unity between the rival houses of Hyram and Eshman.

Ereshqart: A city of 11 million, situated within the Cedarine Basin. The vast majority of Ereshqart's industries are geared towards the Phoenician cedar industry. Cedar forests spread out around the city for hundreds of kilometres, Phoenician cedar is strong, yet highly beautiful when polished, since the wood itself has a distinct, pleasing and eye-catching red colour. The leaves also excrete oils that can be used to produce a red dye for clothes, as well as making fragrant perfumes. Cultivation, harvesting and crafting all take place here, and all of the greatest cedar carpenters hold permanent residence in this city. Such is the desirability of Phoenician cedar and the skill of the craftsmen who shape it that custom orders from places as far flung as other sectors are sent here- such custom requests charge truly enormous sums. Stories of master craftsmen building a table for a wealthy customer, and being paid a sum equal to a hundred manufactorum workers' lifetime earnings, are not uncommon.

The traditional rulers of Ereshqart are the House of Muma, who are close allies of the House of Eshman.

Farra: A city of 12 million, sitting on the northern side of the Strait of Maqart. Farra has a solid industrial base, creating everything from building materials to vehicles, but it is mostly known as a cultural centre. Farra is a city of philosophers, scholars, historians and teachers, who collect the lessons and teachings from all over the sector and consolidate them into a single place.

The traditional rulers of Farra are the House of Nabun, who were once rivals of both the House of Hyram and Eshman, but ultimately dwindled into a relatively minor role over the millennia.

Sedda: A city of 21 million, sitting on a narrow strip of land between the Tadasian Sea and Lake Sedda. A balanced and diverse industrial centre, Sedda's major planetary role is that of Aeronautica Control. All atmospheric craft flying within Phoenicia are monitored from the massive control spires based in Sedda, where cogitators work ceaselessly plotting smooth, risk-free flight paths and then transmitting them to where they're needed.

The traditional rulers of Sedda are the House of Ninil, who are allies of the House of Eshman, although not always enthusiastic ones.

Jubal

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Jubal is an Ultima Phoenician continent; on most standard projections, it occupies the southwest. This latitudinal continent is very flat, with only a few mountain ranges dotting the landscape, and even then the term 'mountain' is applied generously. The landscape does play host to more active volcanoes than the other continents, nevertheless. Jubal is the southernmost continent, and a significant portion of Jubal is covered in the southern polar ice cap. This gives Jubal an average temperature lower than the rest of the planet, although not by much, and the climate quickly warms the closer one is to the northern coast.

Only 300 million people call Jubal their home. The continent is the most sparsely populated one on Phoenicia, and the vast majority of its landscape is dedicated to agriculture and related industries. Most of the population is thus widely dispersed across the continent, with only a handful of true urban centres in existence. Staple grains and vegetables occupy much of the continent, as does grazing land for animals for all purposes (milk, meat etc). A wide variety of consumables are grown in Jubal, including fruits of many different types, spice and herb plants, and so on. The list is very long, and the richness of the soil ensures that food products are generally quite cheap for the Phoenician people and a fairly diverse standard of food is enjoyed by most people.

Jubalite people are well accustomed to working tirelessly on their fields, with a slow, methodical attention to detail. This, combined with their rural locale, often sees the Jubalites unfairly stereotyped by other peoples as slow or naive.

That said, Jubalites have a curious legacy regarding the military nature of Phoenicia. The vehicles the Jubalite farmers use to cultivate their crops are invariably based on the same basic chassis as the fighting vehicles used by the Imperial Guard and the PDF. Jubalite farmers, having spent their lives working with these vehicles, can often be placed behind the controls of a Leman Russ battle tank and operate them with impressive deftness and skill. As a result, Jubalites are disproportionately overrepresented in Armored and Mechanised regiments raised by Phoenicia, typically as drivers.

Major Cities of Jubal

Gikhqart: A city of 4 million, built around Gikh Bay. Gikhqart serves as the primary port for the continent of Jubal, the gateway through which the produce of the continent flows out and equipment and tools flow in. Much of the city's productive capacity is dedicated to food processing, packaging and refinement.

The traditional rulers of Gikhqart are the House of Nynirt.

Beqha: A city of 2.2 million, and the largest settlement in eastern Jubal. Although Beqha's territory is dedicated to all manner of produce, its most famous product are the various Beqhan wines and spirits, including Firebird Amasec and Beqhan dream wine. Many of the best vineyards have become quite wealthy by stocking the cellars of the moneyed classes both on Phoenicia and abroad.

The traditional rulers of Beqha are the House of Ngeht.

Ribhda: A city of 2.4 million, and the largest settlement in western Jubal. It leads the planet in meat production, most commonly grox, although other animal types are pastured as well including Syrts, a large, stupid herd animal with a large, soft, warm coat. The existence of the Syrt has led some scholars to suggest that Jubal was once much, much colder than it currently is. Nevertheless, the Syrt is something of a perfect herd animal- placid, with palatable milk, an easily fashionable shearable coat and tender meat.

The traditional rulers of Ribhda are the eponymous House of Ribhda.

Arphade

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Arphade is an Ultima Phoenician continent; on most standard projections, it occupies the southeast. It is the smallest continent, with a significant portion of its terrain taken up in hills and mountain ranges. For most of recorded history, Arphade's defining characteristic has been its vast mineral wealth, hidden below the earth. The first settlements in Arphade were mining colonies, producing resources to be sent back to the manufactorums of Sydonia and Tyria.

1.7 billion people live in Arphade, most of them in cities that started as mining towns or refineries. It is impossible to ignore the marks left on the landscape by this history, and the signs and symptoms of mining can be seen everywhere: the massive and intricate transport lines, the towers and cranes atop mountain shafts, the great artificial hills, spoiled waters and slag piles that remain after millennia of mining. Much of Arphade's people are still part of the mining industry, but the fact remains that after millennia of exploitation, most of Arphade's mineral wealth has gone. The remainder is proving increasingly difficult and costly to mine, and many communities have found other, easier uses for all of their equipment. In fact, many Arphadian veteran miners are commonly recruited for off-world mining missions, such as to the moons or the other planets in the Ultima Phoenicia system. Many regions, however, have long since converted their cities into industrial production centres. In many cases, this has worked exceptionally well, and despite its relatively small population compared to Tyria and Sidonia, Arphade often hits above its weight industrially.

Arphadian people are generally seen as hard-working, dependable, rugged, conservative and uncultured.

Major Cities of Arphade

Areya: A city of 23 million, built amidst the Maqede Mountains. It is the largest city in Phoenicia that still devotes most of its energy to mining and processing resources. The tunnel shafts extend for kilometres both around the city and deep into the ground. Some of the older and more stable tunnels have been expanded, remodeled and used as residential areas, creating a 'subterranean' city.

The rulers of the city of Areya are the House of Ninke.

Marath: A city of 17 million and the largest city on the island of Nusq. Records point to this city having started as an outpost for various rigs and deep sea mining operations that dot the ocean around Nusq and Arphade. Few of these are still operational, and some have even become strange satellite cities floating on the ocean. Marath's industry nowadays consists of specialised mining and environmental protection equipment.

The rulers of the city of Areya are the House of Balnusq, who took their name from the island.

Pyera: A city of 16.5 million, and the largest port city in the southern hemisphere. The copious resources and equipment produced on Arphade are all funneled through Pyera's massive harbour facilities, from which they flow across the planet, going just about everywhere from Asirbal to Hyram's Bridge to Jubal. Unsurprisingly, Pyera's industry is based greatly around shipping, either manufacturing it or transporting it. As a curious aside, a common slang term on Phoenicia is to refer to someone as living in 'a Pyera', meaning a temporary or makeshift home in a box or shipping crate. This refers to the fact that most shipping crates on Phoenicia are built in Pyera.

The rulers of the city of Pyera are the House of Negi.

Tartya: A city of 11 million on the Great Arphadian Plain. Tartya used to produce mining machines, but its local resources were also the first to run dry. Instead, Tartya now is a city devoted to producing machines of war, particularly common Imperial Guard patterns such as the Chimera or the Leman Russ.

The rulers of the city of Tartya are the House of Negi, who inherited it from the House of Azma in M38.

Fauna

Like most Civilized Planets, Phoenicia's current animal species are a mix of indigenous beasts as well as creatures imported from other worlds. Certain animals which can be found anywhere humanity can be- such as cats or dogs- can be found on Phoenicia. Phoenicia's indigenous lifeforms number, unsurprisingly, into the tens of thousands. Phoenicia has its own types of insects, sea creatures, rodents, birds, and so on, but there are a few that stand out as truly noteworthy to Phoenicia or greater society.

Firebird

"I had spent three weeks searching the Peaks near Atharqart for signs of the legendary- and legendarily skittish- Firebird, and found nothing but the barest of signs. No nests, no dead specimens. Weary of the wasted time, I finally made the journey to the Aventris Temple, the largest Astrotelepathica Temple on the planet. After a lengthy, irritating and costly negotiation, the overseer permitted me to take one of their younger astropaths, named Remay, with me on my search. Despite his blindness he navigated the treacherous terrain easily enough, and within three days finally found what what I had come to find. A Firebird, sitting on a rock, observing us. It was a true bird of prey, its body lean, sleek and powerful, its eyes sharp and its talons sharper. Its feathers were a brilliant gold, orange and purple. Remay bade me stay at a distance as he approached. Some eldritch communication took place, I am sure of it. The Firebird reared its head back, flashing its royal purple crest, and as it did so a whip of flame cracked forth and scorched the air. A second later, the bird took wing and flew from our meeting place."

- Sylvester Quintus, Magos Biologis Zoologis

Ultima Phoenicius Aquila Phoenicis Psykaris

The Phoenician Firebird, or the Ultima Phoenix, is an indigenous species, native to (and found almost exclusively in) the Great Sydonian Peaks. Firebirds are very large apex birds of prey, capable of flying to extremely high altitudes for extended periods of time. Their eyesight is extremely well-developed and sees in greater spectra than humanity does. They often feed on small mammals, but have been known to kill and eat larger prey. Reports of Firebirds killing syrts or even grox on Sidonian pastures are not uncommon. Firebirds can weigh between 4 to 6 kilograms, with a wingspan average of just over two metres. Firebirds have many distinct qualities. Their feathers are often very bright and beautiful, with bold reds, fiery oranges and regal purples being the most common reported combinations. They are also extremely cautious and skittish of humans and despite their vivid appearance, are quite capable of hiding away from curious human eyes. Finally, the most distinctive trait of the Firebird is its ability to generate fire seemingly from nowhere. Legends of Firebirds streaking across the sky, wielding a mantle of flame, are often repeated motifs in Phoenician culture. Due to its rarity and its strange, otherworldly traits, the Firebird occupies a mystical, even spiritual element in Phoenician culture. Many operas, plays and vid-dramas use the motif of the dead Firebird as a symbolic shorthand of impending doom; conversely, the imagery of a living Firebird flying over a scene or an event represents auspicious fortune or the blessings of the Emperor.

The reality is actually very different, and widely unknown. Firebirds are extremely unusual creatures in that as a species, they are all psychically capable. They generate fire not from a natural process, but by using their psychic abilities to twist the Warp into the air around them, creating fire seemingly out of nowhere. Fire is not their only ability, however, merely their most notable, and other abilities include being able to sense danger and to 'trick' people into overlooking them. Firebirds use these abilities to great effect to avoid notice by humans.

There is only one type of human the Firebird does not avoid, and that is the human psyker. On sensing a human psyker, the Firebird will often observe and watch them for a distance. Sometimes, they may show themselves, and engage in primitive communication with the psyker. As a result, the only real way to find a Firebird in the wild is with the help of a psyker.

Psychic ability is considered extremely suspicious and alarming (for good reason), and reactions to the Firebird have not always been positive. More than a few times, discrete groups sent by the Ecclesiarchy or other such groups have conducted vicious purges, driving the Firebirds from their forests and mountains. Psykers, however, often take a different approach, and copious amounts of study have shown that whilst the Firebird is capable of basic psychic ability, for whatever reason, there is no real risk of Warp contamination from their actions. In fact, Firebirds are often highly valued by psykers, who seek them as familiars. This is because the Firebird have an innately stabilizing presence of the warp eddies around them; they are able to augment and focus a bonded psyker's powers, in essence calming the erratic nature of their powers and reducing the risk that a psyker might lose control and create unintended consequences. It is this same mechanism that allows Firebirds to use their abilities without risk, but also ensures that their powers remain small-scale.

No age limit for Firebirds has been discerned so far, with estimates ranging from 200 to even 1,000 years.

There exists a particular form, even subspecies of Firebird known as the Greater Firebird. These Greater Firebirds are much larger, weighing up to 15 kilograms and possessing a wingspan between four and five metres. Their psychic abilities are much greater than the average Firebird, with Greater Firebirds being more than a match for the average human psyker. Greater Firebirds are also extremely intelligent, and it is suggested by some that they are capable of communicating with their masters as a friend might to another. This has not been proven, however, and besides, such intelligence and psychic power would make Greater Firebirds even more suspect than they already are.

The relationship between Firebirds and Greater Firebirds is not truly understood. Some have suggested that the Greater Firebird is merely a very old Firebird.

Stingcat

"Stingcats are curious creatures. Their features and grace make it tempting to suggest that they are related to the common cat. This does not seem to be the case. At the very least, they do not seem capable of reproduction, not even creating sterile hybrids. My dissections of subjects #2-6 reveal that their internal anatomy differs noticeably from the common cat, with the organs having more in common with local mammals. Discussions about this nearly became violent when Adept Lexicus argued for his pan-galactic genetic theory whilst Adept Patern called such a thing absurd and suggested that animals which faced similar challenges developed similar solutions. I took no part in the debate, since I tire of their constant arguing and Subject #1 desired a walk."

- Sylvester Quintus, Magos Biologis Zoologis

Ultima Phoenicius Felis Aculeus
It is not known where exactly on Phoenicia the Stingcat originated from since they have long been widespread on every continent. Stingcats are small carnivorous digitigrade mammals with many feline traits including a good sense of balance, a coat of fine fur, soft padded feet and sharp senses. The Stingcat weighs on average between 3-6 kilograms, with a height of 20-28cm and a body length of 40-50cm, with the tail typically being the same length as the rest of the body. They are highly agile and stealthy and possess excellent senses of smell and night vision. The most defining trait of the stingcat, however, are the stings that give it its name. Stingcats are capable of delivering venom to threats via a long sharp sting at the end of their tail- when threatened, a stingcat will lift its tail and retract its body, allowing the tail to reach anything in front of it. Stingcat venom can typically kill or paralyze small mammals of the same or smaller size, but is non-lethal to humans. Even in humans, however, the venom is extremely painful, with the target experiencing crippling agony in the target spot. The venom often develops into a long-term hyperalgesic effect; there are reports of humans suffering extreme sensitivity to pain or sudden bouts of agony months after being attacked by a Stingcat.

Despite this nasty trait, Stingcats are highly popular as pets on Ultima Phoenicia, especially for children. Stingcats make very little vocal sound audible to humans, but instead possess a 'purr' that is emitted at a frequency that has a soothing effect on mammalian nervous systems. In return, the Stingcat is an unusually loyal animal, and will often attach itself to a particular creature (commonly a human) for the rest of its life, following that creature, protecting it, nurturing it and living with it as much as possible. Stingcats can be extremely affectionate and protective towards 'its' creature, and will often complain heartily if forcibly separated. For this reason, many Phoenician workplaces grudgingly permit stingcats onto the premises, which as one might expect has led to stingcats mingling and producing uncontrollable levels of offspring. Thus, many cities require stingcats to be desexed.

Many stingcats have problems adjusting should 'their' creature die, although the shorter the bond the easier it is for a stingcat to 'move on'. They are also quite long-lived, with healthy, cared-for stingcats living up to 30-60 years.

One curious quirk is that the stingcat only ever forms this 'bond' with creatures that are either larger, more powerful or somehow complementary of the stingcat. This suggests that the stingcat evolved into a 'symbiotic' form, benefiting both its partner and itself.

Sting Panther

"I wasn't even sure where we'd find a Sting Panther, but Lexicus knew. Within a week we found ourselves in the Sydonian highlands around the Khasit Peninsular, trying to find one of these elusive creatures. Eventually, however, it found us. It was night time, and we had been seeing to the needs of our mechanical charges when Patern let out a scream. A Sting Panther, five metres long, with a black and white coat. It smashed its huge barbed tail into his shoulder and he shrieked, an awful sound. The area around the wound became sickly green and swollen before the flesh split and pus began to ooze out. I leapt after the creature and dashed it on the head with my right arm. It reeled for a second, then struck at me. I blocked with my left arm, its poison having no effect on my blessed bionics. It tried to run, but I pursued, tackling it to the ground and pinning it there for several minutes, its tail lashing uselessly against my back, before it finally relented. However, it seems my display of superior strength triggered its bond-forming habit and so now the creature is staying with me. I was not particularly pleased about this at first, especially since moving through the cities becomes so much harder with a five metre long apex predator, but the situation has its upsides. For example, Patern- now with a new bionic arm of his own- pales at the sight of the Panther whenever he sees it."

- Sylvester Quintus, Magos Biologis Zoologis

Ultima Phoenicius Felidae Aculeus Panthera
The 'Sting Panther' is a colloquial name for multiple species that have similar qualities, but differ in size, habits and location. The sting panther is a larger, more predatory relative of the more common domestic stingcat, and can be found in the Sydonian highlands, some of the Tyrian Waterlands and certain parts of Jubal. Smaller sting panther species can range from 30-100 kilograms in weight and be between 1.5-2.5 metres in length, whilst the largest of the genus are capable of reaching extremes of 3-400kg in weight and be six metres long. sting panthers can be extremely strong and are easily capable of killing a human in any variety of ways, from tearing them to shreds, crushing them with their powerful jaws, or choking them with their tough tails. Their venom is also highly virulent and is capable of necrotising human flesh and muscle. Even in smaller doses, the hyperalgesic effect can turn a person's body into a cage of pure agony for years. As an aside, sting panther venom is often a highly expensive black market product.

Sting Panthers are rare, and are often only found in locations where humans don't bother with. As such they can also be highly valuable as 'prestige pets' for the idle rich.

Sting Panthers possess the same 'bonding instinct' as the stingcat, contrary to popular belief. However, the conditions in which the sting panther bonds rely on the panther finding a creature it considers 'stronger' than itself, or capable of contributing greatly to the panther's livelihood. As a result, sting panthers rarely bond, especially with humans, although it has happened, especially if a human has prevailed in a fight with a panther.

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