The Golden Plane was created by Crahurnian some 2 million years ago, to be a place where the various sentient, sapient races of the world at that time could live without fear of death, and to give space for a new generation of peoples to grow. It exists as a virtual world, inside the memory banks of the vast stairship Dawnfay.
Crahurnian created the world in its own image, building a place where the peoples can achieve almost any effect they wish at will. It exists as an entirely virtual world, inhabited by the collective digital minds of the people who first went there.
Manipulation, Timelessness & Society
The major unintended side effect of the creation of a place such as this is that it has caused serious stagnation of its peoples. In a world where almost anything can be created by simply desiring it, and anything changed through the snap of a finger, there has been no need to develop, and indeed, it could be argued that they've regressed somewhat. Aesthetically, the world mostly appears at a roughly late medieval period of advancement. Any time anything is required, it's simply willed into existence.
Perhaps more interesting though is the primary difference between the Golden Plane and everything that exists elsewhere; namely that creatures of the Golden Plane never age. Being purely digital creatures, they lack any true physical form and so appear to be however old they choose. The only exception to this is the recent bioforms, which exist as biological bodies they can use when they desire to interact with the physical world.
The ship they exist on though has a limit on its resources, and so how many minds it can support. It's believed that this number is somewhere around 100 billion, but even so, it long ago reached capacity. This has created a situation where tight population controls are enforced in almost every peoples. There's sort of a one in, one out policy in effect everywhere. As such, some people choose to be reborn as children, some transfer themselves from their digital form into beings of pure energy via the ship's matter transference beam (and what happens to them is currently unknown - perhaps the Triumvene know, but if they do, they aren't telling), and some simply choose to not exist anymore.
The other aside of this is that individuals can get extremely old, to the tune of tens of thousands of years. The result of this, combined with no meaningful illness, sickness or disease has allowed many members of the peoples of this place to become, if not wise, then at least incredibly knowledgeable.
Wealth & Trade
The very concept of wealth itself has taken on a new meaning, as a result of any "thing" being able to be had with almost no effort. The limits to this are essentially ones of scale - there's limits on what they can do, but not on how frequently they can do it. Using more than that causes the same side-effects it would in Midplane. However, on the Golden Plane, Cohesion replenishes instantly. This creates a situation where a creature can't, for example, create an entire city immediately just by snapping their fingers, but they could certainly create a hundredweight in gold by simply wanting it.
Instead, wealth on the Golden Plane is measured by creativity and fun, joy and novelty. In a place where material possession and time, (through the absence of natural death) are essentially meaningless, the peoples of the world have created a version of life centred around art. There are plays which last a hundred years, symphonies which last decades, and paintings which stretch for miles, taking years to fully examine and appreciate.
Perhaps one of the strangest pieces was a piece of performance art, where over the course of ten thousand years, a Squank lived as every part of a pond, from the water in it, to a frog, lily pad, thousands of forms of bacteria and a heron which once drank from it, by changing its form over and over again.
It was widely acclaimed as novel, and soothing to watch, if possibly lacking in ultimate refinement and excellence.
In a similar way, trade has evolved quite differently to Midplane, thanks to a total lack of material possession determining value. Instead, trade exists to transfer services still, but not goods. So a person might trade their talent for music, for the services of someone else as a sculptor. A Squank might trade a tear of their memories for a song created to immortalise it. An Azodin might trade their roar in the performance of an opera in return for an Octophele's knowledge of the life of a creature in Midplane.
Such are the trades that are made. Equally interesting is the concept of the Manipulatively Enforced Contract, or MEC. MECs are legally binding, as with any normal contract, but have manipulations tied into them, so that should they be broken, the breaker might for example spend the next thousand years as an amoeba, or have to serve the other party for one hundred years, or in extreme examples, simply give up existence.
These contracts are unbreakable and enforced immediately, their penalties being woven into the fabric of the world itself.
Crahurnian was the creator of the Golden Plane, and acts as its protector. It used to regularly be seen interacting with the creatures of this place, and as such is a God of a form, but not in any way which requires faith. Much like postmen, Crahurnian simply exists, or at least is assumed to still exist.
However, Crahurnian wasn't overly forthcoming with regards to its aims. As such, various religious cults have grown up around it, aiming to influence or win favour with it. As far as anyone can tell, none have actually succeeded, but thanks to their lifespans, it's not stopping anyone from trying.
Whilst Crahurnian might have been the most active of the Triumvene, the existence of the other two, Crahurnian and Garrian, is known to Ancient Peoples. Neither visits, but Crahurnian let it be known before it departed that the legends of both other creatures are true.
Ghosts & the Chevaliers d'or
The Ghost artefacts were items of great manipulative power, and are well known to the peoples of the Golden Plane. A number of them got together and created a group known as the Chevaliers d'or, protectors of the Ghosts. They have dedicated themselves to ensuring the artefacts and the axe Gavelloran are never united. They (possibly uniquely) seem know what the various pieces and axe were built to do.
Its current leaders are:
- Shovan, Octophele, 1.38 million years old, oracle
- Pherenia Nimary Jorinie Saralim, Disapperature, 158,000 years old, High Queen of the Disapperatures
- Memories Yet to Arrive, Azodin, 369,000 years old
- Zeemar-Loya, Kinisepath, 39/257,000 years old, traveller
- Norvat-Regar, Kinisepath, 56,963,000 years old, healer
- Eaweri, Uffrith, 67,000 years old, politician
- Heyayee, Squank, 161 years old, diplomat
The Chevaliers d'or have a limited bioform presence on both Orth and several of the Nightfay vessels. In the case of the former, that takes the form of the Knights of the Gold. On the ships, they're known as the Stonerunners, and considered an esoteric sect.
Suggested Further Research
- The Belgariad & The Elenium book series' by David Eddings
- Harry Potter as an examination of magic limiting societal growth
- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - book
- Stardust by Neil Gaiman - book and film
- The Tempest & A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare
- The Q episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin