Xal is the world created by the deity Dhaj. Its humanoid inhabitants are called Xulians. Unlike the human Canvas, Xal has no planets or outer space. Instead, its structure is a circular plane roughly 4 billion light-years in diameter, containing floating islands of land surrounded by sky. The islands of Xal are separated into 5 domains based on their proximity to one another. The North, East, West, and South contain hundreds of islands and cities each, while the Middle consists of one independent city-island
In the center of the sky is a star called The Vallias (or, colloquially, "The Star"). The Vallias occasionally births smaller stars called Vii and moons called Lazree, which provide light to the farther reaches of Xal. Xal's days are each as long as a human week, and are broken up into smaller "sleep-cyles" or "micro-cycles" of 24 hours each.
Xulians possess powers similar to humans with mana, but theirs are granted by xala instead.
(for more detail, see full article: Northern Xal)
The northern sky is an epicenter for Xal’s culture. Thanks to their abundance of resources, the north and its inhabitants possess technology that puts them visibly ahead of other parts of the sky, and their overwhelming army and control over native Goliaths maintain that gap. Natives of the northern sky are known for having African-inspired hair and Victorian-inspired, body-accentuating clothing, particularly for their men. The most recent generations have adopted a fanciful way of speaking inspired by the most recent fad of Hammotian fantasy writers, making them sound similar to Earth's Shakespearean or Accelerando’s natural speech patterns.
(for more detail, see full article: Eastern Xal)
With lighter skin - and often lighter hair - than the rest of the sky, those from the east face heavy prejudice, scrutiny, and ridicule. Their native xragoons and medical flora make them an asset, but generations of war crimes and discrimination left many Easterners bitter and cynical when dealing with others. It is now widely accepted that Easterners are just as capable as other Xulians, despite persistent jokes about their abilities and numerous scholars who have tried to argue otherwise. Eastern culture heavily encourages the productive members of their society to wear suits or professional robes.
(for more detail, see full article: Southern Xal)
The earliest generations of southerners rejected Dhaj as their deity, and were therefore banished to live in the slowest progressing and roughest parts of Xal. Generations after were permitted to leave, but many southerners consider their home too integral to their identity to leave for long and are invested in improving it. Some of the more extreme southerners have experimented with changing their bodies and xala, partly out of desperation and partly in defiance of Dhaj's will.
Southerners tend to have straight hair with distinct hair colors not seen in other races and dress in casual clothes meant to be practical first, fashionable third. Those that can afford it wear fashion inspired by other cultures, mixed with the edge of their own.
(for more detail, see full article: Western Xal)
Infamous for mixing brawn, wits, and riches, this part of the sky heavily believes in free expression, especially for the strong. The looser laws make it harder to survive, but the opportunity to learn and succeed is much higher. Xulians here tend to have darker skin but varying eye and hair types. Although western culture heavily encourages practicality above all else when it comes to fashion, those that attempt to dress with compelling representations of their personalities are usually respected.
(for more detail, see full article: Middian)
An extremely small minority of Xulians that live near the center of Xal. They believe Dhaj is not the true deity of their world and are preparing their bodies and xala for “The inevitable coming of the true Creator.” As Dhaj's power and influence can be easily verified at any given moment, next to no one takes them seriously and they are often accused of having corrupt xala to ruin their thoughts. Despite this, the rest of the world has taken notice of their typically white hair and how competitive Middians are about making their religious robes fashionable and personalized. Middians are the only people without any form of official military, due to their size and their religious beliefs.
The Military Generals
The Generals are the equivalent of democratic monarchs, overseeing the northern skies of Xal. There are only 4 positions open for this title and it is incredibly difficult to even get close to earning it. You can win the favor of an active General and go under her wing until she retires (usually as a lieutenant), gain the favor of at least eighty percent of parliament, or - in Xevula’s case - simply have it willed so. Regardless of the method of their appointment, every general candidate must go through arduous trials that have killed many more than they have passed.
The Chosen Five / Queens
Every part other than the northern sky recognizes “The Chosen Five” as their primary authority figure. After discovering God’s universe, all parts of the sky quickly passed the law that would grant the five secondary title of ‘Queen’. Becoming one of the five requires an 85% acceptance rate among parliament and an oath to secrecy and seclusion. Not much more is known about them. Most people do not know who they are, how long they’ve been around, or what laws and changes they’ve been behind.
Matriarchs / Queens
The same law that granted The Chosen Five the title of 'Queen' was also applied to Matriarchs. Being a Matriarch gives a woman access to important political decisions for both Xal and inter-universal affairs. They’re considered the third highest because they have the widest range of territory and have immediate influence over regarding various matters Generals usually wouldn’t involve themselves with. However, they share social rank with a lieutenant; leaving them at a disadvantage due to a lieutenant’s direct connection with the Generals. Queens and Lieutenants getting along with each other tend to be in everyone’s best interest.
Queen Apprentices are women working under Matriarchs/Queens with the intent to become one themselves. Most of their power comes from the influence of the Queen they live under, and they cannot usually assert any power of their own. However, their Queen's power is often all it takes for those without rank or privilege to comply with a Queen Apprentice’s demands. When not learning from their Queen, Apprentices are given the same tasks as Handlers.
Handlers are women who directly manage a brothel for their Matriarchs. Even if a Handler isn’t a Queen Apprentice, their power and influence are very similar.
Special few citizens or former soldiers in the north who have proven themselves invaluable during times of war are often given the title of “Grey” or “Grey Veterans”. They’re given feathers to wear on their outfits - an act illegal for anyone else, even the Generals. Although not as highly ranking as a General, Greys are given the rare privilege of being able to defy orders without repercussion if their reasoning doesn't directly interfere with military or political affairs. Most Greys only use their special rank to protect themselves or their loved ones and have no interest in provoking high ranking officers or civilians - nor do the elite want to provoke Greys. It is possible to receive the title “Grey Matriarch”, but only one person in Xal’s entire history has ever received such a title.