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  • Writer's pictureShannon Rampe

Microblog - The World of Anusha & Stan

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

With the release of the print version of When Stars Move & Other Stories, there's been a renewed interest from readers in the title story. This is a setting and characters I hope to return to one day, and I've outlined more stories with them. Tell me more about Anusha and Stan, you cry. Well, without further ado, here is some lore about the setting of When Stars Move.

The world is a magical place!

In the world in which Anusha and Stan live, not only is magic a real force, but the stars in the sky literally move. There are three major regions featured in the world of Anusha and Stan, each with their own magic. And each of the cultures of these regions interpret the significance of the movement of the stars in different ways.

Tyros is where Stan was forged (in a manufactory called "Standard Engineering Works"). The Tyrosi are masters of engineering and trade and have learned the secrets of infusing arcane energy into machines to give them life and even sentience. In Tyros, each family believes its fate is tied to that of a star; the position of the stars influences how different families rise or fall in political and social significance within the society. They are led by the Polemarch Alexandr II.

The Sultanate of Arak is known for its mastery of alchemy as well as its fine fabric crafts. Arak is a monotheistic theocracy in which the priesthood is influential, able to influence even powerful Sultans such as Anusha's father. This power is derived from the astronomer-priests, a caste who specialize in reading the position of the stars which they interpret as the word of God. Through such pronouncements, they wield spiritual as well as political influence in Arak.

Finally, there is the Middle Kingdom, a setting not featured in When Stars Move. The Middle Kingdom consists of dozens of providences that fall under the sway of the Imperial Bureaucracy, led by the Immortal Emperor. The emperor is centuries old, kept "alive" through ancient sorceries and alchemical elixirs imported from Arak. The providences are home to nature spirits and hungry ghosts. In the Middle Kingdom, scholars and hermits see the spirits of the Celestial Court in the movement of the stars, using their movements as a method to predict the future. But the viziers with true power and influence ignore the warnings and pronouncements of the shamans from distant villages.

This is the world in which Anusha and Stan inhabit! One day, maybe you'll see their journey from Arak to the Middle Kingdom in search of a home where they can be free, only to get caught between imperial politics and the fate of the entire world!

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