The affini core worlds are the origin of the Affini Compact, along with the affini and their first florets the beeple. Nestled deep in the Triangulum Galaxy, the core worlds are no singular homeworld but a collection from which the grandest sprawling superstructures grow from. It has become a vast jungle in space. Alive and singing a rhythm that every affini caries a piece of.
Due to the diversity, and the alien eldritch nature of the core worlds, accounts vary wildly. The sheer incomprehensibility, splendor, and the song thrumming through the sector are common across accounts. No one, not even an affini, can truly understand what is there, but they don't need to. They've been built up over nearly a hundred thousand years, by the most ancient beings of the precursor civilization. Every inch of it designed with the core values of luxury and indulgence.
Here are some accounts attempting to convey the unknowable nature of the core worlds:
A byzantine bureaucracy of petal and vine, overgrown jungles older than time filled with florets you could mistake for affini and affini the eye almost refuses to parse as living creatures at all.
Rivers of starstuff hung in artificial sky burning art onto the cosmos with sheer weight of hubris, the stars of their local galaxy moved and shaped specifically to be more pleasing to an eye that has long since grown tired of lesser works.
Impossible towers made of blackest night hanging from overgrown stellar elevators because they've grown so tall the planet beneath could not take the weight.
Cities with designs so endlessly complicated that on your first day you cannot imagine how you could ever navigate them, even with a map, yet by the end of your first week you simply understand where to find what you seek with no understanding of from where that knowledge came.
A whole world coming together to sing a song so beautiful it resonates among the stars, yet before you arrived to add your part it was incomplete.
A living world where the population are as much a part of the whole as the whole is of the population.
Such density and depth that the scale of its infinity rivals and exceeds the rest of the universe combined.
and you could never hope to understand it, you thought
but now, you are a part of it
and it understands you.
To Alcea, the core worlds were a distant memory. Like many, perhaps even most affini, she had been uplifted from their gardens. But, as with many young affini, they had seemed almost beyond her. Countless sophont species, upon first encountering the affini, would describe the plant race as uncanny, ethereal, even incomprehensible. To most, affini culture and norms were enigmatic, their place in the galaxy timeless and grandiose. And, of course, many, many affini gleefully embraced that impression, deliberately playing up their own mysterious ways, or even evoking the appearance or behavior of any given culture’s creatures of myth and folklore. Whenever Alcea tried to explain or reflect on the core worlds, she felt it important to highlight that outsider’s perspective toward the typical affini. Mainly, she did this, because it served as an excellent framing device for her ultimate point, that to even many affini, the core worlds were simply too much.
Of course, the ‘core worlds’ had long since become a sprawling and diverse region of space containing many solar systems. Around the fringes, and through much of the region's outer half, things were fairly normal, at least for affini space. Many of such planets were structured around the simple purpose of being nice places for affini to live an idyllic lifestyle with spoiled florets. The further inward one traveled, however, the more they became exposed to affini culture at its most affini, extravagant and opaque to a fault. The core systems were in many ways a massive, sprawling cosmic jungle—a metaphor which became increasingly more literal the closer to the center one drew—growing ever denser and incomprehensible the deeper inward one traveled.
And, as any given traveler grew closer and closer to the homeworld, they would find it increasingly impossible to spot an ounce of consideration for anything besides sheer indulgence and excess. Within the heart of the core systems, function cowered helplessly in the long, imperious shadow of form. Truthfully, Alcea almost felt a bit bad for any non-affini sophonts living so deeply within the core worlds. Everything from infrastructure to art to entertainment was designed around showcasing the overwhelming capabilities of the Compact, all while rendering anyone incapable of engaging with physical space in the specific unique ways in which affini could completely helpless.
Of course, that was the point. The sights were beautiful, blurring, ever shifting masses of color and fractal patterns which deliberately confused any non-affini who beheld them. The ground itself hummed with an overpowering rhythm that worked its way into the unconscious minds of any exposed to them. The very air was prone to leave any non-affini who breathed it in a blissed-out haze. As far Alcea knew, the only non-affini sophonts who could even begin to piece together sense from such surroundings were those belonging to their first ever pet species, and they, of course, had quite literally evolved into compatibility with their affini caretakers.
Otherwise, non-floret sophonts didn’t really live deep into the core systems, they couldn’t. Spend even a day within any such system and any such sophont would find themself spellbound, blindly marching right up to the nearest domestication office to sign themself up. Of course, for that very reason independent protectorate citizens were warned away from straying too deep into the core systems. And any florets who did live that deep in needn’t worry about problems of inaccessibility, as they had owners who would gleefully take care of everything.
The entirety of her early life experience dealing with the sheet excess of the core worlds had been simply too much for Alcea. It was part of what had driven her out to the frontiers of Compact space to begin with. As such, she was, to a certain extent, dreading just how much more may have been done since she’d last been there.
humming a few bars of the song that every affini knew whether they'd been near the Core or not