Friday Lore Post: The Continent of Tossec

A map of Tossec created by GayWhiteBoy.
This map of Tossec was created by famed cartographer Decimus Solarius (AKA GayWhiteBoy)

Nova’s least explored continent is a landmass known as Tossec. Almost entirely unknown to anyone on the planet, Tossec is an ice-covered, barren landscape with nothing living on it except for several waddles of penguins, who mostly live around the coast, especially the islands that ring the continent, and subsist on fish found in the local waters. These penguins don’t generally venture very far inland because there are no fish there, and so are have never proven a reliable source of information about the rest of Tossec.

The continent is ringed by a series of islands called the Bones of Qalnor, which are believed in Aergyre to be the remains of a cthonic serpent named Qalnor who once ascended from the depths of the sea and attempted to consume the world before being slain by a divinely-descended hero named Petyr the Grey in a battle that formed the continent of Aergyre. The Bones are just as uninhabited as the rest of Tossec, though there are some seals there in addition to the penguins. An Imperial outpost has been set up on on one of the larger Bones in order to formally claim Tossec as part of the Empire, but the outpost is crewed only by seven people, all of whom are essentially exiles who have displeased the empress.

Tossec’s interior is almost entirely featureless and flat, broken up into several distinct ice shelves, but otherwise not particularly distinctive. The continent is always frigid, with snowstorms being frequent and temperatures almost never rising to levels that are safe for human habitation. Exposure to the temperatures of Tossec for more than a few minutes can put a human into hypothermic shock, though a few Imperial expeditions have managed to survive a few days with the correct equipment. Funding to properly explore the continent does not exist at present, however.

Despite the fact that clearly nothing that isn’t a penguin can survive on Tossec, the ruins of three large cities are standing at different points on the continent. Vefth, Yolth and Tjeya were all clearly cities inhabited by upwards of fifty thousand people each based on their size, and their architecture is similar to each other but does not match any known architecture across Nova. Based on the sizes of doors and windows, the inhabitants of Vefth, Yolth and Tjeya must have been somewhat taller than humans on average, but little else can be determined about them from the frozen remains of their cities except that they valued open space, as all three cities have large circles in their centre with no apparent buildings nearby. A few carvings and statues preserved in ice contain images of humanoid figures that are clearly not human, and some contain lettering that is nearly identical to the indecipherable language that appears on the ziggurats in Yavore and Djyekkan; as well as in a ruined tower and several other ancient locations in Aergyre; several ancient ruins in Menechit; on the mysterious Statues of Di in Yassar; and on the sides of some altars in Enjon’s spiritual capital of Senewol.

This same writing appears on the sides of the three ziggurats in Tossec. Called the Diamond Ziggurat, the Opal Ziggurat and the Pale Ziggurat by the extremely small number of people who know they’re there, these ziggurats are twice the size of even the Great Ziggurats in Yavhore and are made from diamond, opal and an unknown pale stone, respectively. Encased totally in ice and half-buried, these ziggurats form an equilateral triangle around Nova’s south pole. All three of them have a set of stairs leading to the top, and the stairs are on the sides of the ziggurats that face the south pole. Halfway up the stairs, doors break the face of the ziggurats, leading to a chamber inside. The doors on the Diamond and Opal Ziggurats are open, but the Pale Ziggurat’s doors are closed.

At the exact point of the south pole is a statue. Resembling but not identical to the carvings in Vefth, Yolth and Tjeya, the statue is seventy feet tall and has arms and legs that, from a human perspective, are far too short. Its eyes are front-facing but nearly on the sides of its head, it has no nose or ears and its mouth is nearly the width of its face. It has no recognizable genitalia between its legs but does have what seems to be a phallus where the navel would be on a human. The statue is made from an unknown material and adheres to everything it touches. It has been slowly sinking beneath Tossec’s ice for several thousand years.

The statue, the ziggurats and the cities were all constructed on Tossec when it was called Svlat, back in a time when it was a quite inhabitable continent that did not contain a magnetic pole. The inhabitants of Svlat had been abandoned by their gods, and because their civilization depended on the support of those gods, they decided to summon a new god. The summoning of the new god involved the construction of the statue and the ziggurats around it, and had the catastrophic result of altering Nova’s magnetic field and setting up a new south pole at the statue’s location, nearly destroying the planet.

The ensuing apocalypse resulted in the loss of billions of lives and the near-extinction of most of Nova’s native species. The planet survived and, through repopulation and various waves of immigration, came to be repopulated again but Svlat was uninhabitable to nearly all of its new residents, at least on the surface. When they were active cities, Vefth, Yolth and Tjeya contained large underground components, and tunnels between them and other people. During the apocalyptic event, many fled into these underground spaces. Though they would be very cold and dark, theoretically those tunnels and caverns might still exist, though whether they are inhabited or not is a mystery that cannot be solved, because at present, it is a question that nobody on Nova even knows to ask.

Some Imperial explorers have been pushing to properly map Tossec, and though it is not high on the Empire’s current list of priorities, there are some in the Empire who think that there might be significant natural resources buried beneath Tossec’s ice, and are advocating for better-funded exploration. If this happens, more knowledge about the frozen southern continent might become available in the future. Until then, however, Tossec is a mystery to everyone but the penguins, and they aren’t talking.

From “The Definitive Atlas of the World, Vol. 1: Lands and Locations,” by Pascal Tiberius Naoton Quimbell Haeverine anNatalie, published in White Cape in DN 1997.

10 thoughts on “Friday Lore Post: The Continent of Tossec

  1. Did the Syvlatians have some kind of biologically engineered servitor species that eventually developed full sapience, rebelled, and killed most of them off? Because that’s the only missing ingredient for a reenactment of ‘At the Mountains of Madness’.


  2. They are clearly still there, under the surface of the ruins. Because Nova is a sci-fi/fantasy kitchen sink, and subterranean cities full of ancient precursor races are therefore inevitable.


      1. I meant those carvings and statues that depict humanoid beings, like the giant South Pole statue. Do they resemble dogu? The description of oddly short limbs and wide-spaced eyes sounds similar.


        1. Oh sorry, I thought you meant the inscriptions on the ziggurats. Some of those do resemble Dogu a little bit! They’re not all the same shape, but a few of them have what could be those proportions. 😀


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