Thanks to Emperor_Niro on this site for the great help in saving my favorite world from crash issues!!!
Uncounted millennia ago the Sheddu had reached a point of astounding technology. Nano tech, quantum processing, biological hardware and transdimmensional expansion for machinery and mind had been achieved. Much of these breakthroughs were the doing of the Conclave, a body of elite philosopher-scientists. The Conclave were each masters of many fields of study but specialized in one or two. Their brains were biocybernetically enhanced with nano-fibers and tech and extended into a subspace. This allowed them to hold and access more information than any normal Sheddu could. Many of the Conclave had also surgically altered themselves.
The Conclave consisted of:
Vhrabavara: A former monk of Voke, a belief system very similar to Buddhism, and a brilliant Neurosurgeon and cyberneticist. Vhrabavara had added a third eye to himself in emulation of the old, no longer believed in Sheddu god Void. Vhrabavara was at one time the mate of Shaxivantya, but left her for Savrashaxti. His Laboratory City is in the North, full of cloning and Medical tranks, He shared the facility with his second mate-lover, Savrashaxti.
Savrashaxti: Absolute mistress of Biology of all kinds. Savrashaxti gained fame in the field of Medicine and fertility. Sheddu reproduction can be challenging and the nurturing of their eggs often required midwives to assist the mothers. Savrashaxti came from the midwife background and knew well the challenges involved. Her salves and nutrient oil egg-baths were a phenomenal success.
Shaxivantya: Also a former Voke Monk and astounding philosopher Shaxivantya was an Entropologist and bio-technician. She was convinced that remains of planets consumed by black holes remained, shunted into a parallel dimension. She believed that tapping into the ambient energy of this realm could give the Sheddu vast power. She discovered that she was correct and explored the ruined worlds in the Abyss, augmenting herself further. This lead to devastating results for the Sheddu. A nano virus gave the Sheddu the ability to teleport and rid them of the need to eat or drink. They had an even more difficult time reproducing, however. Birth rates plummeted, a single clutch of 50 or so eggs (much like frog eggs) was laid a lifetime. Shaxivantya was imprisoned in the Abyss that she loved for the crippling of her race. She had occasional conflicts with the Kraad, natives of the Abyss that could also be found in Sheolhell. Or perhaps it was the other way around.
Necrotti: A trans-dimensional physicist and dabbler in military technology. Necrotti discovered the hellish Sheolhell. This realm could consume living beings and seemed to personify pain and suffering. The underworld of meat and lava drove Necrotti mad and claimed him. He returned to Sheddu (the planet is named for the people) and waged a war aginst them. Now a skinless and eyeless horror, it took the combined efforts of the rest of the Conclave to seal Necrotti away in Sheolhell. His followers and staff had become withered skeletal abominations. This was decades before Shaxivantyas fall.
Inhidyirra: She was an aerospace engineer. Her advancements allowed the Sheddu to begin exploring other worlds. Among them was Earth. After the Shaxivantya problem they sought answers there. For centuries the Sheddu abducted and studied humanity, looking for an solution to their reproduction problems. A specimen preserve was even constructed on Sheddu. The humans here lived in an inescapable 1950s style community. Many were unaware that anything was even amiss.
Rhyltanava: An oceanographer and sea-life biologist.
Abhrikahlla: The preeminent geologist, environmental and planetary scientist. He was an invaluable asset in building the human specimen environment. He also studied the primitive savages in the caverns below Sheddu.
Kannahsharra: The master of debate, Kannahsharra helped to write and rewrite legal directives. He was a sociologist of some renown. It was his judgement to imprison Shaxivantya in the Abyss.
Chae-Dell: Considered a Bodhisattva of Voke. He was also a sociologist but was more interested in the effects of past cultures on society. He maintained the ancient sites on Sheddu, the Deeping Well, the Cave of First Births, the Voke Monastery, as well as the older buildings in the various cities and the Funerary Valley. He stayed out of the politics of the Conclave except for when he spoke on Shaxivantya;s behalf and when he tried to appeal to Necrotti.
After the age of the Conclave its members went their separate ways, no one is sure if they died moved on to other planes or went into hibernation. It has been thousands of years and they are simply gone. The Sheddu fell into barbarism again and had to relearn much of their technology. They too explored other planes and dimensions. The Human preserve was abandoned and forgotten.
A radio signal from a station on the Preserve was detected by Earth deep space exploration. A colonial expedition was sent to investigate. The vast ship was crippled by ancient Sheddu planetary defenses and crashed without discovering the Preserve. The survivors established a colony under martial law and set about exploring the seemingly empty world. By the time humanity reached the stars the vast metropolises of the Sheddu were only occasional occupied by small numbers of the beings. Great Patterns in the landscape marked where they left their world from. Vast numbers who revere Shaxivantya dwell in the Void..where the great being herself is remains unknown. Also, the nano-virus that crippled the Sheddu had a terrible effect on humanity. It raised the dead as shambling monstrosities. The nanofibers could even hold together skeletons.
Beneath the ground the primitive Vardricites had developed a series of kingdoms. They, too, had discovered Sheolhell and worshiped Necrotti as their god. The frequently plagued the Human preserve and found new fun with the new arrivals.
At the center of the World is the Valley of Old Gods. Here the Sheddu people worshiped Void and other gods they ceased believing in when they advanced as a civilization. The Conclave were the New Gods (of sorts), paragons of science more real than the superstitions of the forgotten past.
The Southern Storm hides the passage to a dire valley of evil reputation.