by Max Barry

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The New Imperial Order of
Libertarian Police State

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Iciaros - An Overview

Iciaros

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Motto: Prosperity and Happiness


Capital:

  • New Ixainia

Largest City:

  • New Ixainia


Population:

  • 9,585,439,355 (core territories, census 719 AA)

  • approx. 24 billion (all territories, estimate)


Land Area (estimate):

  • 1.25 billion km2


Government: Absolute Monarchy

Leaders:


Calendar System: Apocalyptic

  • AA (After Apocalypse)

  • LE (Lost Era)


History:

  • Founded: approx. 1026 LE

  • Destroyed: 0 AA

  • Refounded: 102 AA

Overview


The New Imperial Order of Iciaros, or Iciaros, is a country founded on the planet of Aquui. As of the present day, Iciaros is the only fully independent state in the Aquui solar system, and through its 17 protectorates and other semi-autonomous territories controls all the planets in the system.

The population of Iciaros’ core territories reaches almost 10 billion across 213 million square kilometres of habitable land on the planet Aquui as well as a number of orbital habitats, with another approximately 14 billion resident on the four other habitable planets in the solar system, spread out among the semi-autonomous territories.

Iciaros is an absolute monarchy with discretionary succession, presided over currently by Empress Andromeda Ceriss. The chosen heir to the throne is Crown Princess Saphira. Iciaros is represented in the World Assembly by Ambassador Mercia. Its armies are commanded by Grand General Wray, and its space navy is helmed by Grand Admiral Aldaine.

Though the entirety of Iciaros' history spans over 1700 years, Iciaros in its current form has only existed since its re-founding in 102 AA.


History

Pre-Apocalypse

Most of Iciaros' history is lost to time. The earliest surviving artifacts and documents suggest that Iciaros was founded as the Imperial Utopia of Iciaros over one thousand years ago, following the unification of a number of warring tribes under a single banner. The name of its first leader, Empress Celeste, appears on documents and records spanning hundreds of years, suggesting that either she was a long-lived entity, an incredibly powerful mage, or that her name was adopted and passed down along the line of succession.

Whatever the case, Celeste remained in power until 18 LE, when a popular rebellion opposed her rule and began the First War of the Lost Era. This rebellion, which arose from alleged widespread injustices inflicted upon the people by her lords and ladies, grew into a bloody civil war. Celeste was slain in 13 LE, and following contention over the line of succession, a number of her territories seceded from the Imperial Utopia and formed a separatist faction. Eventually, the First War ended in 8 LE with the defeat of the separatists, and an accord being signed between the rebels and the empire, now led by Empress Angelica. Under the terms of the accord, Iciaros was divided into two sovereign nations, effectively halving the territory of the Imperial Utopia.

Ultimately, the Imperial Utopia of Iciaros met its fate in 1 LE following the Second War of the Lost Era, when leaders from the previously-defeated separatist faction returned to wage war. Through now-unknown arcane magics, the separatists devastated the Iciarosian subcontinent, wiping out almost all traces of Iciarosian civilisation. It is not known how the separatists were eventually defeated, but by 0 AA the subcontinent was almost entirely devoid of life, and all three factions had ceased to exist. The few survivors of the apocalypse either fled north, where a land bridge allowed passage to the neighbouring Gryphonite subcontinent, or south, to the Valkyrian peninsula.

Re-Founding

What remained of Iciarosian culture carried on in the Valkyrian peninsula. For one hundred years, the populations of the various communities of survivors grew peacefully and without incident. Eventually they were bloodlessly united under the flag of the Valkyrian Imperium of Iciaros in 102 AA. By 110 AA, the Imperium had succeeded in establishing naval trade routes with the nations on the Gryphonite subcontinent and the nearby Wyvellan archipelago. During this period in its history, Iciaros remained generally peaceful and diplomatic, intervening only to attempt to mediate conflicts that threatened its trade income, such as the Gryphonite Wars of the Queens and the Wyvellan Fifty Years' War.

Conquests and Domination

By 300 AA, Iciaros had turned its ambitions towards conquest. Emboldened by the weaknesses of its once-friendly trading partners, which had been devastated by wars across the centuries, Iciaros began to build up its armies and navy in preparation for war. Come 310 AA, military spending had increased tenfold.

Iciaros' opportunity eventually came with the advent of the Two Gods War between the kingdoms of Cylesia and Atalanta on the Wyvellan archipelago in 315 AA. Seizing the opportunity, the Imperium allied itself to Cylesia, prompting the majority of the Wyvellan archipelago to unite against it. Iciarosian forces eventually inflicted decisive defeats on this union at the naval Battle of Cylesia in 317 AA and the Siege of Anthem in 318 AA. The union surrendered unconditionally in 319 AA, and Iciaros annexed all their territories. In 322 AA, Cylesia voluntarily submitted itself to Iciaros and became a colony.

The developments in the Wyvellan archipelago alarmed the Gryphonite subcontinent, which came to fear Iciarosian aggression. Several alliances were made, but by 352 AA most of them had fallen apart due to infighting, disagreements, and opportunistic wars. Nonetheless, Iciaros did not act until 385 AA, when a major plague swept across the subcontinent and killed large numbers of the population. Iciaros then declared war on select nations, which would eventually grow to encompass virtually the entire subcontinent, in the Wars of Unity. The wars lasted over two decades and finally ended in 408 AA, with all Gryphonite nations either conquered or beaten to surrender. Iciaros thereafter annexed their territories and unified the known world.

Age of Technology

An era of peace followed Iciarosian unification, but military spending did not decrease to pre-conquest eras. The leadership of the Imperium, then Empress Ariel, issued a royal decree to continue spending on scientific research at pre-peace levels, but expanded beyond its previously military-application-only scope. The first flying vehicles were eventually invented in 450 AA, and came into widespread use by 470 AA. The development of such vehicles, improving their potential size, carry weight, fuel consumption, and more, eventually allowed Iciaros to explore more of the world. These explorations would lead to the discovery of new continents in 502 AA, known today as the Idyll continents. The natives, who lived in pre-feudal societies, were peacefully integrated into the Iciarosian territories and their numbers bolstered by colonists.

In time, the cultures of the Idyll continents would effectively almost entirely vanish, successfully suppressed by Iciarosian education and the importation of Iciarosian culture. In recent times, some natives have chosen to return to their roots in uncolonised areas, but official reports suggest that these enclaves are few.

Space Age

Iciaros achieved space-flight in 614 AA. Effective space travel, interplanetary colonisation plans, and space habitat construction projects soon followed. By 680 AA Iciaros had built for itself a sizeable space fleet, consisting mostly of transport ships and mobile habitats. It expanded across the system to neighbouring habitable planets, where it discovered several pre-space age civilisations in 690 AA, 693 AA, and 697 AA respectively. These would eventually become the primary protectorates of an interplanetary Imperium, and are now known as the Valkyrian Protectorates of Fonto, Arenios, and Orial.

Contemporary History

Main Articles: The Valkyrian Crisis and The Soul Crisis

In 706 AA, following the fierce but bloodless Valkyrian Crisis, Fonto, Arenios, and Orial submitted to Iciaros and became protectorates. in 707 AA, reigning Empress Azalea declared a new age of unity and peace for Iciaros, and renamed the Valkyrian Imperium to the New Imperial Order of Iciaros.

In 721 AA, the Soul Crisis began, where Orialian leadership began a campaign of genocide against its own people in an attempt to fuel powerful soul magic (see Magic) following bitter disputes between itself and Iciaros. This was resolved eventually in 722 AA, and resulted in the ascension of Empress Ceriss to the throne.

Demographics

Population

In 719 AA, a census conducted by the Imperial Census Bureau (ICB) established Iciaros' population within core territories to be 9,585,439,355 as of the beginning of the year. Moderate and steady population increases have been projected by the Imperial Population Commission (IPC), aided by immigration partly from foreign nations and partly from protectorates and other semi-autonomous territories.

Iciarosian protectorates and territories have not conducted similar censuses, but an estimation by the IPC put their total population numbers at around 14 billion.


The central library of Angelus Academy,
the main institution under the LTDP.

Health and Education

Both healthcare and education in Iciaros operate under single-payer systems, established by royal decree in 520 AA. Generally the administration of healthcare and education is conducted by regional governors, though funding allocation is done directly by the crown. The exception to this is the Leadership Talent Development Programme (LTDP), an educational programme administered directly by the Crown.

According to 719 AA censuses by the ICB, 99% of the population has had at least a secondary level education and 50% have graduated from university, and 97.6% of the population has received approved vaccinations.

Religion

The national religion of the New Imperial Order is Angelicanism, which honours the last Empress of pre-apocalyptic Iciaros. However, as scholars have pointed out, the absence of any higher beings, religious orthodoxy, or indeed any canon, beyond a simple acknowledgement of historical fact and the cultural practice of honouring national contributors, puts Angelicanism on the footing of tradition rather than religion.

Conversely, as other scholars have noted, the cult of personality that surrounds the throne of Iciaros more closely resembles a proto-religion. Though no Empress has ever claimed divine heritage or mandate, the narrative of infallibility, prescience, and quasi-immortality (see Process of Succession) that has been perpetuated through the years has given rise to a culture of faith, trust, and a hope for providence, not unlike the religions that existed on the Gryphonite subcontinent and the Wyvellan archipelago in 300 - 400 AA. The crown has always denied this, however, and official state education policy is to promote religious scepticism and secular thought.

In general, the people of Iciaros are allowed to practice whatever religious beliefs they prefer, though religiosity (aside from the above) is not prevalent. To date, there are no native large-scale religious organisations nor widespread religions, aside from Angelicanism.

Culture

Main Article: Social Culture of Iciaros

Politics and Government


Empress Andromeda Ceriss and
Crown Princess Saphira.



Ixainia Palace, the centre of
government and the home
of the Empress.



Ixainia Palace (Interior, Great Hall)


Related Articles: Nature of the Empresses, and The Imperial Council of Advisors

The New Imperial Order of Iciaros is an absolute monarchy, with full executive, legislative, and judicial power vested in the sovereign. As a matter of practical policy, the sovereign delegates responsibility and authority in specific fields and for specific purposes to sub-branches of government, with her direct involvement only called for with regards to matters of high policy or during emergencies. Day-to-day administrative affairs are largely handled by regional governors and judicial officers.

For most of its history, the monarch of Iciaros has held the title of Empress, though some sovereigns have taken modified versions of the title, such as Seraph-Empress Angelica and Empress-Valkyria Azalea. The heir has historically been known by the title of Crown Princess, with no exceptions thus far.

Unlike a traditional hereditary system of succession, Iciaros adopts a selective process. The potential candidates for the heir to the throne are chosen personally by the Empress, typically from among students in the Leadership Talent Development Programme, and put through special tutelage. The most promising of these chosen will be selected as heir. Though the heir could, in theory, be a relative of the reigning Empress, this has never historically happened, and no sovereigns of Iciaros have ever married or had children.

The remaining candidates for heir, after an heir has been chosen, are usually assigned to various government positions in the capital. They also form the typical pool of candidates for the Empress to appoint replacements to the Imperial Council of Advisors, a close-knit group of the Empress' personal advisors, confidantes, and assistants. The Council, aside from dispensing advice, also serve a variety of other miscellaneous purposes, and can be invested with limited sovereign power when the Empress cannot personally attend to important issues. Upon the death or abdication of a reigning Empress, the Council will be also responsible for guiding the newly-ascended Empress. Though the advisors on the Council can be dismissed at any time, this is rarely done, and for the most part members of the Council have enjoyed a lifelong tenure.

If an Empress dies without a living heir, the Council is responsible for appointing an heir from among the potential candidates for heirship chosen by the deceased Empress, or those chosen by her predecessor.

Aside from the royal position of Empress, there are a number of noble houses, which are merely honorary and hold no real power nor privilege. Nobility has historically only been granted to loyal servants of the crown, accompanied by a moderately large estate.

Process of Succession

When an Empress passes away or abdicates, the Crown Princess ascends automatically to the throne by operation of law. In practice, however, the Crown Princess typically retains her title until her coronation ceremony, which must take place within a week of the vacation of the throne.

During the coronation ceremony, officiated by the Council, the Crown Princess first makes a national address. She then undergoes the Ritual of Succession, a magic ritual designed primarily to confer the power, knowledge, and wisdom of previous Empresses onto the Princess. This process has been known to alter the appearance of the Princess, a change that, according to royal dispatches, is meant both to symbolise the significance of her ascension, and to confer on her a more powerful appearance. The result of transformation can vary, and there are historical instances of no observable change to the Princess’ appearance.

Following her ascension, the new Empress will take up residence in the royal quarters. The quarters of the heir will remain vacant until a new heir is chosen.

Centre of Government

The centre of government is Ixainia Palace, located within the capital city of New Ixainia. Aside from being the Empress' and Crown Princess' home, it is also the location of administrative and judicial hubs for not only the capital but the entire capital region. Numerous courthouses and administrative buildings surround the main palace building, and are also dotted across the capital generally. Several embassies are also set up around the palace grounds, mostly belonging to protectorates.

Foreign Relations

Though Iciaros is the only independent nation in the Aquui system, the discovery of interdimensional portals in 663 AA, during the space age, led to the realisation of foreign relations between Iciaros and faraway nations. Notably, Iciaros has joined the World Assembly in 670 AA, and in 716 AA founded The Azalean Collective, whose administrative capital lies in one of its semi-autonomous territories, the Territory of Azaelya. Iciaros is represented in the World Assembly by Ambassador Mercia, while the Collective is attended to by Lady Ilyrea as the Iciarosian delegate.

Iciaros is connected to the World Assembly by a series of interdimensional portals situated in the diplomatic hub, just outside the palace grounds. Though typically used by diplomatic personnel only, private citizens may apply for special permission to use and access the portals.

Military

Main Article: Military of Iciaros

Though Iciaros has had navies for most of its post-apocalyptic history, its military strength has historically lain with its legions. It had been, pre-apocalypse, one of the most magically and technologically advanced countries in the area, to the extent that the few bits of knowledge that could be salvaged after the dust had settled proved sufficient to give the resurrected Iciaros a decisive edge over its opponents.


Iciarosian military detachment stationed
at a checkpoint in Orial, 705 AA.

Iciaros' primary and most notable advancement was the re-discovery of soul-linking, which allowed the creation of lifeless golems that could be remotely controlled by a linked operator over long distances. In its early days, this technology allowed Iciaros to weather devastating losses and still retain the skill and experience of its veteran warriors, as well as largely do away with vulnerable supply lines. Come 422 AA, after Iciaros' last war, the technology had developed far enough to allow the construction of powerful war machines and squad-links, where a single operator was linked to an entire group of soldiers, allowing Iciaros to maintain a large standing army at low costs. Other advancements, such as the discovery of magitech laser weaponry, hardlight shields, and ablative armour, mainly served to add to the power of its military.

Iciaros' waterborne navy, which had consistently been neglected since its final war, was finally disbanded in 670 AA when it became clear that an interplanetary fleet was the way of the future. At the same time, the first orbital shipyards were constructed around Aquui and its moon. By 680 AA Iciaros had constructed a large space fleet, though only a small portion of it was dedicated to military purposes. The military portion of the fleet saw a large expansion following the discovery of non-spaceborne nations on neighbouring planets, but after their submission to Iciaros this expansion was slowed and ultimately halted.

Aside from this, the size of the military has largely remained stagnant for decades. However, funding for military research - and other fields of research - remains strong, as Iciaros remains committed to technological advancement as well as maintaining order.

Laws

Main Article: Laws of Iciaros

Economy

The economy of Iciaros is largely driven by private industry, though government spending is a significant force in some sectors. Even where private companies are dominant, however, the state does intervene indirectly in areas regarded as essential or important, typically by acquiring a majority stake in industry leaders.

Where the state takes control of a private company, it usually works closely with said company to the exclusion of others, resulting in a near-total monopoly or oligopoly. State-backed companies often receive a raft of advantages, from explicit reduction of corporate taxes and loosening of regulations, to more implicit support like the unspoken promise of a government bailout in hard times. In return, however, the company is expected to comply with government directions, as it would with any major shareholder, and pay out generous dividends that go into the national treasury. Though private directors are largely left alone to streamline company affairs, the state most often steps in to stop changes that may prejudice the consumer and the public at large. Examples of sectors dominated by such state-backed companies include healthcare, public transport, military production, and research.

Among the above sectors, healthcare, military production and research additionally benefit from direct government spending, either through subsidies (as with healthcare) or direct government contracts (as with military production and research).

Magic and Technology

Main Articles: The Nature of Magic, and List of Iciarosian Technology

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