At first, I thought this world was dead.
A land of hot stone, boiling rivers and spikes of bone, the spines and remains of animals long since deceased. Asterkitoi, gigantic beings that came to this world to leave the mortal coil and be renewed by the Cycle, their bodies melting in the hot, white sun, everything slowly turning to dust. Space whales, floating through the cosmos to their death beds.
Turns out, I was wrong.
There is plenty of life. The dead lure scavengers. Opportunists.
At first they were small. Insignificant. Bacteria feeding off flesh. Algae feeding off the gases the bacteria released. Microorganisms feeding on the algae. An evolutionary arms race that creates its own food sources.
Out of this biological soup, more advanced beings began to evolve. Their traits matching the bony remains of their landscapes. Beasts, both predator and prey, covered in bony crests, spikes and more.
The gigantic Asterkitoi continued to fall. Just as a food supply would die out, another would land and begin the planet’s cycle once more, providing a new battleground for evolution to play its game.
Still, the arms race continued. Until sentience appeared. Pulling itself up and above its predators. Becoming the ultimate species on the planet, after the gigantic beings that would die above them.
The Ostar were something new on a planet that had not seen intelligent life yet.
Warm-blooded monsters. Bodies lithe and agile. Hollow, bony spines growing from their backs, armouring their soft bodies. Long, hard claws. Longer, spiked tails. Calm, simple, yet also cruel when needed. A strange race compared to most, but perfectly at home with the many other beasts they lived and scavenged among.
Scavenging turned into hunting. Hunting turned into agriculture. Agriculture turned into villages. Working together allowed this race to spread their duties among each other, increasing their individual talents and expertise.
But there was always something different about the Ostar. While I have visited many races, seen their ideas, seen their beliefs and how easily swayed they are, the Ostar do not change course. They see the Cycle of existence as it truly is. They do not mourn death, they do not worship birth. They simply live their lives, knowing that death is not a threat to them.
Why? Because when they were still young, they discovered something. A secret that drew the Asterkitoi to their deaths. What most beings don’t understand is that the Asterkitoi were gigantic beings, approximately 30 kilometers long, their largest specimens reaching hundreds of kilometers. Being so large, they could not see like most do, they feel. They navigate via gravitational pulls.
But at the poles of this planet, exists a structure that should not exist. Something that stretches through the entire planet, warping reality around it, twisting and damaging the mortal plane. Twisting gravity. These anomalies confuse old and dying Asterkitoi, drawing them to this broken world. The Ostar simply feast of their remains, and guard what lures the Asterkitoi there, as if they were instructed to do so aeons ago.
The cause of this gravitational anomaly? A gateway to Kinigi. A large gateway to Kinigi, one that no beings have ever seen before.