|“||My people lived on the planet of Piscyth - a rocky, violent world with numerous volcanoes that spewed boulders into the air...||”|
Piscyth is a planet located in Universe Beta-17XG. Few in the Spearbreakers story have actually visited it, save for Warmaster Kythraka'l Scylk, K'bahth, Klade, and possibly Mr Frog. Despite its significance as the homeworld of the Scythod, Piscyth itself has yet to be extensively studied, and there are a great many facts about it yet unknown.
Piscyth, unlike most inhabited worlds, does not orbit around a traditional light-emitting star, but rather around a large brown dwarf, making it very dark. It is roughly the same size as Everoc and Parasol, with roughly the same mass.
The atmosphere of Piscyth is far denser than that of Everoc, consisting of 95% carbon dioxide, with over 90 times the atmospheric pressure of Everoc at the average surface height (sea level). At the distance Piscyth holds from its parent's star, the same orbit around Everoc's star would make the surface fatally hot. However, a brown dwarf is relatively cool, and even Piscyth's close orbit to it isn't enough to raise the temperature very far by itself.
With almost 5000 active volcanoes, Piscyth is one of the most geographically active planetoids known to exist. This extreme geologic activity is the result of tidal heating from friction generated within Piscyth's interior as it is pulled between its parent star and the other Piscythean planetoids. A number of volcanoes produce plumes of sulfur and sulfur dioxide that climb as high as 1750 km (1050 mi) above the surface. Piscyth's surface is also dotted with more than 600 mountains that have been uplifted by extensive compression at the base of the planet's silicate crust. Some of these peaks reach over 30 km (19 mi) high. Piscyth is primarily composed of silicate rock surrounding a molten iron or iron sulfide core. Most of Piscyth's surface is characterized by extensive sandy volcanic sulfur plains, although it is also streaked with scattered, jumbled mountain ranges.
There is very little water either on the surface or in the atmosphere of Piscyth, although it has small ice patches at either pole. This lack of water represses flora of any type, besides extremely hardy "pseudoplants" that feed on fumes escaping fumaroles and magma vents. What little water exists often collects belowground, and escapes in the form of sulfuric hot springs, which are generally found around mountain rangers. While exceedingly toxic to dwarves, humans, and elves, the Piscythean fauna finds it refreshing, and these hot springs are always home to a wide variety of fiercely territorial creatures.
The mountain ranges of Piscyth are extremely jumbled and sand-carved, with steep rock faces and narrow passes. Caves are generally unheard of, save for those created artificially by scythods and other burrowing creatures. Digging is difficult because of the lack of soil, and the sand is too loose and dry to dig beneath due to the lack of water. Rockslides are not uncommon, and falling rocks even more common.
The surface of Piscyth, save for the areas lit by the light of volcanic activity, is completely dark. Piscyth's star provides no light in the visible spectrum, although it emits a good deal of infrared radiation. Even with this, it is recommended that one take lamps and flashlights when exploring even previously explored terrain, due to the extremely hostile surroundings.
Despite the presence of heavy clouds of carbon dioxide, little to no rain falls over Piscyth's surface except at the poles, where it falls in the form of a powdery sulfuric snow. Despite this, wind is almost constant in most areas, and faster on average than the winds of Everoc. Sandstorms are frequent, sweeping up many tons of sand that blast the nearby mountain ranges, often triggering overhanging rocks to fall. Tornadoes are frequently sighted in the plains areas.
The Great Brown SpotEdit
Most sentients find Piscyth's "Great Brown Spot" to be the most impressive feature of the planet. Although not quite as incredible as others that dwarven astrophysicists and astronomers often bear witness to, this particular spot over the Piscythean surface is a raging storm that lasts for months at a time. The storm is spurred onwards by the heat rising from the volcanic activity of a caldera of a collapsed volcano, Asgard Mons, 120 km (75 mi) across, and the oncoming winds from Piscyth's central plains. The Great Brown Spot itself is roughly 1200 km (745 mi), spanning the width of Asgard Mons. Asgard Mons has collapsed completely into the crust of Piscyth, making a large shield-shaped indentation that, according to scans, dips almost 44 km (22 mi) beneath the average surface height, dipping deeply into the planet's mantle, which is only 12 km (7.5 mi) deep on average, compared to Everoc's average of 21 km (13 mi) deep.
Flora and faunaEdit
Due to a lack of soil and flowing water, there is little to no evidence of plant life on the surface of Piscyth, although some strange silicon "pseudoplants" have been discovered, especially near volcanic vents, where they feed off the heat and minerals thrown out with the gases from within the planet's crust. These pseudoplants are wormlike in shape, and have a "mouth" through which they route gases and entrap minerals and nutrients. Taken back to a Ballpoint laboratory, it was discovered that most are absolutely indifferent to the presence of water. Some, however, require such a degree of heat to function and survive that the water was heated to the point of boiling, and the steam killed the specimens almost instantly, making the water essentially toxic. The flora of Piscyth remains to be named, as Ballpoint was far more interested in turning the fierce surface creatures into workable mercenary armies.
While Piscyth is lacking in the area of flora, there is a wide variety of creatures that make up an extensive food chain. At the lowest point in the food chains are the slow, lumbering "fumivores" and "geovores", the former of which feed directly off fumes emitted from magma flows and vents. The geovores are known to consume the stones themselves, their stomachs producing acids strong enough to digest the solid rock. Slightly above this are the insectoid herbivores, or what would be herbivores elsewhere, which feed on the pseudoplants (and in some cases, the fumivores themselves), and these creatures are typically extremely small. Finally, there are the carnivores, which make up the great majority of all the creatures on Piscyth.
The carnivores of Piscyth are, without a doubt, some of the most terrifying creatures ever seen. Most rely on either extremely well-developed hearing, sonar, echolocation, or infrared vision to locate their prey, and some rely on more than one. With plant life scarce, and water scarcer, feeding on other creatures is a means not only to consume enough food to survive, but liquids as well. This causes creatures to become incredibly aggressive towards those of other species, and commonly against even their own in cases of food shortages. These creatures are well-suited to the harsh, hostile environments, some with legs capable of taking them across the central planes in great strides, and others with arms capable of maneuvering around the perilous mountain ranges of the planet. Most employ special defenses against the planet's raging dust storms and acidic, sulfuric "snow" that falls around eruption sites, as well as the occasional falling molten pebbles. The speed at which these creatures can detect and take evasive measures against falling molten rock is phenomenal.
The best-known creature of Piscyth is without a doubt the sentient Scythod, which has made its home for many centuries among predators far larger than itself, and has learned to climb among and tunnel beneath the brittle surface rocks of its homeworld with surprising dexterity. The scythod were the primary reason for the Piscyth Wars, in which Ballpoint lost a good portion of their auxiliary squads in an attempt to capture and "domesticate" several tribes of scythods in order to breed a working army. While Ballpoint eventually won by merit of their advanced technology and greater numbers, the scythods proved themselves such formidable opponents that their reputation often travels before them as Ballpoint employs them in combat-heavy areas, scaring their opponents into standing down as the clicking, scurrying, alien creatures approach. It can be argued that the scythod are the primary reason for Parasol's continued search for Piscyth's location, as well as the primary reason Piscyth has become known among civilized peoples.