The Twin Moons: Aral and Unal

The Lands of Hope are orbited by two moons, traversing the sky along a polar path (around the northern and southern poles rather than along the equator). Their influence is widespread but somewhat debatable, with many commoners clinging to superstitions and the learned classes working to square wilder tales with observed facts.

Aral

Aral, the lower moon, is thought to be smaller and closer to the earth than its sister. Its movement is so fast as to be nearly visible to the eye, traversing the entire horizon twice on most nights and running through a complete cycle of full to new twice every month. Many in the central lands such as Shilar and the Percentalion claim that on nights when Aral is full, they have felt a “moonbreeze” after its passing, which is thought to be good luck. Sages insist this would mean the orb is less than five leagues above the ground, which is manifestly impossible. According to several rhymes of ancient poetry, Aral passes between the twin-peaks of Skysword, the tallest mountain in the Lands of Hope, at least once a year. Skysword is usually shrouded in clouds but most believe that it does indeed have two crags at its summit.

Unal

The higher, somewhat larger and much slower moon is the more stable astral body of the two. Whenever sources refer simply to “the moon” it is Unal that is intended. In each month (of 30 days) Unal will run through its cycle of new to full once, and it generally make a single circuit of the sky each night. The alternating cycle of the relative speed of these two moons means that the Land of Hope encounter a night of the double-full moons once in each six months (and correspondingly a night of double-new moons twice a year as well). Though widely regarded as “the” moon when scholars wrote of it, there is decidedly less lore about Unal in the histories and legends of the Lands.

Solar, the sun, is associated with the metal gold, whereas Unal is often represented by silver and Aral by the magic metal silversteel.

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