Areaer is a planet very similar to our own earth in size, composition, orbital period, and rotational period. It has two moons. One is approximately the same size as earth’s moon, and with a similar orbital period (almost exactly twenty-nine days), and is the only one noticed by most people, since the second moon is very small and farther out, causing it to appear no brighter than a bright star. Areaer’s features are affected, and some of them maintained over long periods of the planet’s history, by the magic bound into it and by its magical and elusive Guardians.
Areaer has several continents. The Return of the Dragonriders Trilogy takes place on the central eastern portion (and off the shore) of the super-continent Aneri.
Aneri is roughly divided into North and South by the Greater Aravain Mountains, a chain of mountains with its lowest peaks approaching the limits of the breathable atmosphere and its highest peaks rising far higher yet. These mountains are the focus of much magic. It is in their heights that the Guardians make their abodes upon Areaer. It is within their rocks that the Riders’ Passage lies, a passage with three exits, one on the southern side of the Aravin Mountains, one on the north, and one within the Dragonsong Forest, a forest of gigantic trees which is of special importance to the Dragonriders and to the Guardians, and on the northern side of which, nestled in the Greater Aravin Mountains, lies the vale of Aros Cor, another place of ancient magic (and hot-springs). The interior of the Riders’ Passage is lit by glowing rocks, called glowstones or earth-stars. Within the Riders’ Passage also lies a legendary lake of light. Off the coast of Northern Aneri lies Ellen Island, the site of a magic volcano of great ancestral importance to the dragons and the possible source of the Dragon-sword. Southern Aneri is dominated by countries which are hostile to the dragons and the Dragonriders, their primary religion being one in which the dragons are demons and many of their gods and heroes sacrificed themselves to save their people from the dragons.
Another of the continents of Areaer is Ellenesia, which shares the northern hemisphere with Aneri. It is known in legend for the elves who dwell there in their forest nation of Elethri, perhaps because, due to the slower, longer lives of the elves, human empires rise and fall while Elethri remains much the same. Ellenesia, too, boasts a place of great magic, but this time the magic is dark: the Nightshade Castle in the center of the Icecrown Mountains. Most of the north lies under the sway of the Valor Alliance, a coalition of nations defended by an elite order of warriors. It is also home to gryphons (many Valor Knights are gryphon riders) and the typically elusive drake-lizards. The Legend of the Singer Duology (the next series in Areaer, of which the first installment, Children of the Dryads, is available) takes place in Ellenesia.
Many things, which may have nothing to do with each other, go by the name of magic in Areaer. The ancestral magic of the elves comes from the dryads and the trees, but the nature of human magic is mostly unclear even to its practitioners, beyond the how of practicing it. Some of it is undoubtedly dark and horrible, and comes from the Nightmare, but some speculate that other branches may be distantly related to the elven magic. Then there are artifacts like the Ring of Light and the Dragon-sword whose magic may come from the Guardians or from distant worlds or even stars.
The dragons of Areaer always bond to humans, in a transforming link which forever changes both dragon and rider, and usually results in the death of one when the other dies, except for the rare cases of the Obsidian Dragons, who differ greatly from other dragons. They are the only dragons to have black scales, and they possess great power and inherent magic, and, unlike the other dragons, do not hatch helpless. Besides the dragons, Areaer boasts at least two other telepathic species known to sometimes bond with humans, one being the gryphons who inhabit the mountains throughout Ellenesia, and are generally friendly towards humans and very protective of their young. The other physically resembles tiny dragons (though they are less colorful than the dragons, being pre-dominantly red, orange, and brown, whereas dragons come in every color of the rainbow). They are called drake-lizards, and, unlike dragons who can usually speak only to their riders though they can see the minds of other humans, they can speak to most people. However, there have never been very many lizard-keepers, since for some reason wild drake-lizards are almost never seen and can never be caught, and bonded drake-lizards hide their eggs even from their keepers.
For more images of some of the locations mentioned here, see this page.
Images of the planet and moons done by James Geary