Alaer is a cool, temperate ocean world, similar in composition and size to Areaer, but slightly more massive and with much thicker oceans. Alaer is the third planet from its star, Anidril, next out from Areaer, its sister planet, and it orbits Anidril once for every hundred and eighty-four rotations on its axis. Alaer has just over thirty-one months to a year, as counted by the orbital period of its moon, which orbits Alaer about every twenty-five Alaeran days. Due to the tilt of Alaer’s orbit around the sun as against that of Anidril’s thick inner asteroid belt, there are times of year when the asteroid belt is clearly visible in the night sky. Like Areaer, Alaer is a world guarded and guided by its own internal magic and by its Guardians, some of whom it shares with Areaer, and some of whom are specific to Alaer.
Due to Alaer’s thicker oceans, most of the continents are submerged under thousands of feet of water. The only dry land in Alaer is found in its mountain ranges. Even the highest peaks of Alaer’s mountains remain well within the breathable atmosphere.
Alaer’s vast oceans are home to two species of relatively human-like intelligence and relationship to their world. One strongly resembles the merfolk of human myth, but rather than resembling fishes, they resemble dolphins and seals, and like dolphins and seals, they breathe air not water, though they spend the majority of their lives in the ocean and have limited mobility on land. They share the ability of echolocation with dolphins and underwater they speak through echolocation, but they have limited telepathy which they can use to speak in air, their vocal cords and mouths not being refined enough for the nuances of language. The other can breathe only underwater, and have bright scales and frills along their backs. There is no reason why the two aquatic species should be unable to get along and cooperate, but they are frequently at war. Both appear to prefer the semi-shallow oceans and seem to be unable to work out a mutually satisfactory arrangement. One of the more notable and exotic animals to which Alaer is also home is a gigantic telepathic sea dragon that usually eats plankton, though sometimes she develops a taste for meat.
The dolphins of Alaer are connected to their world on a profound level. They come in two varieties: the more common of the two are the aurorae dolphins, who come in shimmering pastel shades of every color of the rainbow. Singly, they can wrap themselves in a shimmer of their color, and together they can call the Polar Lights around them. Far rarer are the white moon dolphins. Both varieties are strong telepaths and are able to bond to both native species of Alaer as well as to humans, though many dolphins never bond, and those dolphins that bond almost always do so as adults, after they have borne and seen to adulthood any young they wish to have. When dolphin-bonded, the bright-scaled water-breathers gain the ability to spend small periods of time out of the water, and humans experience that the length of time they can swim before coming up for air is increased. The younger the dolphin-bonded, the stronger the changes effected in them and the less those changes rely on the physical proximity of the dolphin to be active. The dolphin-seal-like merfolk are similar enough to the dolphins in their physical attributes that they rarely change noticeably. No matter the species of the dolphin-bonded, dolphins generally prefer to bond to young children, and when they bond, the death of either dolphin or dolphin-bonded usually results in the death of the other. The dolphins of Alaer are not to be confused with or considered equivalent to the dragons of Areaer.
Images of the planets and moon, viewed from space, by James M Geary