According to the people of the Steadfast, this is the ninth world. Eight previous worlds and their civilizations have risen and fallen. Each, in their own way, learned to harness truths of the cosmos to master the world and its components, but each, in their own way, eventually died or scattered, disappeared or transcended.
For convenience, I’ve been saying the ‘ninth world’ to mean the last thousand years [this number is approximate: see below], the ‘eighth world’ to mean the civilization(s) between the fall of my world and the rise of the ninth, the seventh to mean my world, and the sixth to mean the period before my world. I’m not sure how many worlds there have really been though, or how long it’s been between when I left and when I returned.
The Ninth World
According to Dalathia, the most recent world rose out of a dark age 1020 years ago. But the Neviri empire has been around for at least 500 years longer, while Tarrow, the youngest society of the Steadfast, joined only 40 years ago. I guess it depends on your point of view.
The Eighth World
The Seventh World
The seventh, my world, was so different from this one. We had ships we had made that were so fast, you could fly anywhere in the world in the time it would take you to walk around a city. Some ships could fly across the sky to the planets (which are actually different from the stars. They’re a lot closer). The rings used to be one giant island in the sky, and it looked like the sun but silver. A lot of people lived there, before something happened to it.
Everyone could control Nanites really easily, but they weren’t everywhere like they are now. Instead, everyone had their own personal Nanites. If an organization wanted to do something really big, they would request to access a small portion of their members’ Nanites, and that was how we were able to do things like control the weather.
But maybe the most important was our technobabble. We could use it to remember everything for us and find it when we needed it, put artificial minds on it, as well as our own if we needed to. A lot of people would be there if they didn’t have good insurance and so they had to wait in there before getting a new body.
The Sixth World and Before
Before us, in the sixth, there are only myths. People say that there were these great heroes, like Kael and Arei who went to the stars and never returned. Maybe they were really advanced space explorers, or maybe it’s all just stories.