by Max Barry

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The Divine Supremacy of
Psychotic Dictatorship

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Khoronzonite Culture (very WIP)




Khoronzon is a nation unlike any other in human history. From the days of Athanasios I to the ascension of Narcissus, it has stood out from the rest of the world like an iron tower in the midst of a field, viewed as being beyond humanity both by outsiders and by itself. And yet, while the rest of the world sees nought but an alien coalescence of darkness, brutality, and hatred within its walls, the reason Khoronzonites have for considering themselves apart from the outside world is wholly different in nature. Rather, they perceive themselves as higher lifeforms - a proud race having thrown off the shackles of humanity to become something greater. Nonetheless, they remain not entirely inhuman - lying between two worlds, they seek to build a new one in their image.

In progress...

Selected early artworks by Grand Apostle Xhasthrai, circa 2318
[OOC credit: Yamamoto Takato]

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Citizen at a train station in Xura
The ethnic ancestry of the contemporary Khoronzonite race is primarily East Slavic in origin, mixed with degrees of Northeastern European and Northern Asian peoples. However, cultural and ethnic homogenisation during its early days, as well as its more recent large-scale genetic engineering and unconventional mode of reproduction (viz. below), have all contributed in entirely erasing these former identities. As such, Khoronzonites now consider themselves to be an entirely new, "young" race, detached from the traditions and races of the past - the term "young" can also be applied literally, given the Khoronzonite practice of culling the elderly, which is partially derived from similar reasoning. Their population is extremely homogeneous, especially given its vast size - early on, this was largely due to a combination of ethnic cleansing and dissolution of territorial ethnic enclaves and heterogeneous groups into a single national collective, while in later years, new reproductive technologies and methods have further unified the population to the point where there are quite literally no ethnic minorities among the citizenry.

As a result of considerable genetic alteration, the physical appearance of Khoronzonites possesses a notably atypical and distinct character relative to the peoples of the rest of the world. They invariably have significantly pale skin, more so than any foreign ethnicities, with those who live further away from major urban centres having a tendency to bear vaguely less pallid complexions. Hair colour generally ranges from black to light brown, and texture from straight to slightly wavy. Eye colour is mostly light brown, with fairly sizeable minorities having dark brown, blue, and grey eyes. Hair dye, contact lenses, and surgical alteration are not particularly infrequent, resulting in a somewhat broader range of physical characteristics than would otherwise be phenotypically dictated.

In addition, Khoronzonites tend to be taller than baseline humans due to exceptionally rapid growth in adolescence, with an average height of 191 centimetres, and possess increased muscle and bone density and accelerated tissue regeneration. Sensory, emotional, and cognitive capabilities are also heightened, discounting further psionically-derived augmentation - examples of said sensory enhancement include greater tactile sensitivity, tetrachromacy, and limited nocturnal vision. However, Khoronzonites are known not to age well - many of the aforementioned capabilities decline with senescence, and mental degradation is especially sharp. In addition, Khoronzonites are notably more susceptible to various forms of cancer than baseline humans - more specifically those affecting the blood, bones, and nervous system - and the A-class eugenic elite in particular is known to have an increased incidence of certain behavioural disorders.

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"Khoryaz Alphabet" in handwriting
The national language of Khoronzon is Khoryaz, a relatively recent language built heavily off of the now-largely-defunct language of Russian, with some influences from Ashkhorol, a rarely-used secondary language with no known historical roots, as well a few loanwords and small traces from various other languages in Northeastern Eurasia. Both Khoryaz and Ashkhorol emerged alongside the state of Khoronzon, which itself is an Ashkhorol word meaning "followers of the One"; the first records of Ashkhorol date back to the beginnings of Khoronzon as an esoteric religious order, while the main language of Khoryaz was formed over the course of the Khoronzonite state's early establishment, as a planned homogenisation of the various languages and dialects in the territory under its control. Since Russian was the dominant language in the region, Khoryaz subsequently came to bear many similarities with it; however, it has been stated to sound considerably different from Russian, in part due to a variety of phonemes being carried over from simplified Ashkhorol as well as various neighbouring languages. Its name is a contraction of "Khoronzon" and "yazyk", the Russian and Khoryaz word for "language". Khoryaz is mainly written using its own modified form of Cyrillic script, with a considerably larger alphabet that reflects the language's phonetic diversity. It is considered by foreigners to be a highly difficult language to learn, due to aforementioned complexities as well as a marked lack of learning material being able to leave the country's borders.

Khoronzon is, for the most part, a monolingual state - while Ashkhorol is officially recognised, very few people use it, as it is extremely difficult to pick up, considerably impractical for common purposes, and potentially dangerous to use improperly, while most foreign languages are seen as useless and belonging to inferior, dying cultures. Khoryaz is the only language most citizens use, and there is fairly little regional variation in dialects and accents. Most Khoronzonites who do learn languages other than the two recognised by the state do so out of historical interest, particularly for research on ancient religions; consequently, Khoronzonites tend to be more familiar with long-dead foreign languages than with existing ones, seeing the cultures they represent as superior and more worthy of study than those of the contemporary world. Though Ashkhorol is extremely rare in day-to-day life, it is employed semi-extensively by the Ministry of Truth, most notably the Shrouded Ones and their subdivisions - as an example, Shrouded initiates are typically given a new, Ashkhorol-derived name to replace their birth name, indicating their special status.

Some basic Khoryaz terms:

  • Numbers from 1-10: kha'dn, dvaph, thris, chyet', pyat', shest', shem, vosh, dyev, dyesh

  • Hello: zdthrashchy' (formal), pryvft (informal)

  • In progress...

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Indoor vegetable farm in Shugara
Despite the vast amount of space it occupies, Khoronzon possesses a relative dearth of agricultural land, and its climate is ill-suited for the cultivation of crops and livestock - while, centuries ago, its land may have supported substantial agriculture, such conditions had been worn away even prior to its inception. As such, with a population in the billions and no food imports, compact, sheltered, and advanced measures are necessary to feed so many mouths, particularly given that Khoronzonites are notably more nutritionally demanding than baseline humans - thus, the majority of Khoronzon's agricultural production is based in indoor vertical farms, making extensive use of hydroponics, aquaculture, and cellular agriculture to supply large quantities of food within its vast, highly populated cities.

In progress...

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Gestation pod at a Hatchery in Asahara
One of the most distinctive aspects of Khoronzonite society, as well as one of the most infamous and well-known across the world, is the fact that its people are not "born". Rising into the clouds and sprawling across vast expanses in its cities are massive complexes known as Hatcheries, where hundreds upon hundreds of neonates are "assembled" out of national gene banks, moulded in gestation pods from clumps of organic tissue into developing embryos, prenatally linked to Khoronzon's vast administrative networks via neural implants during formation, and spawned into the world en masse upon completion, undergoing their early stages of life and education within higher levels of the selfsame complexes. With each new generation, the aggregated genetic information from which the population is constructed is analysed and altered in a process known as "directed evolution", resulting in the single most efficient, comprehensive, and fast-acting eugenic system to have been implemented in known human history. Initially existing mainly within Khoronzon's main technological and economic centres while the less-developed outskirts largely retained the old practices of live birth and biological families, the advent of Hatcheries has in recent years been spread to encompass the entirety of the Supremacy's expanse, accompanied by large-scale consolidations of cities and transport networks, and has entirely replaced the previously-used conventional human methods, with Hatchery-born citizens being inherently sterile and thus unable to naturally procreate.

The birthing chambers themselves possess four subdivisions designated K, M, P, and A in descending order of size, production capacity, and gestation speed, with the latter three referring to the "class" of embryo being raised within their walls, while the first is dedicated for the spawning of bio-constructs rather than citizens. While all three classes are subjected to the directed evolution process with the aim of generalised improvement across physical and cognitive aspects, and are overall superhuman in many regards when compared to the unmodified baseline, the degree to which fine-tuning of genetic adjustments is prioritised over ease of production varies - as such, M-classes are the most numerous, but bear the least inherent enhancement, while A-classes are few in number but possessive of significantly advanced capabilities. In effect, A-classes are biologically tailored to serve as a ruling elite, P-classes as a broader administrative intelligentsia, and M-classes as the bulk of the citizenry and moderately skilled labour force, with tasks below them being relegated to automation, bio-constructs, and thralls.

Besides serving as a high-efficiency industrialised replacement for natural reproduction and greatly facilitating eugenic development, a notable side effect that Hatchery-based spawning has had on Khoronzonite society is a dramatically different view of sexual relations. In essence, sexual activity is considered to have two aspects - the biologically necessary reproductive aspect being the "lower" half, and the social, recreational aspect being the "higher" half, due to the latter increasing in prevalence as biological limitations are progressively weakened. Prior to the development and proliferation of Hatchery technology, the lower aspect was prioritised over the higher out of necessity for population growth; however, with the former being entirely phased out, the latter is all that remains. As such, both halves that formerly existed as burdens to each other have been made to flourish separately, with procreation being revolutionised from an inefficient small-scale process into a far superior productive force, while the bonding and pleasure inherent to the sexual act is released from the restraints of demographic demands.

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Gathering of students entering conscription
After being born into their respective Hatchery regions, Khoronzonite neonates are placed in groups known as "creches", each one overseen by a small group of attendants charged with their early development. The size of a creche is based on the class of neonate within it, numbering at twelve for A-classes, twenty-four for P-classes, and forty-eight for M-classes. During this stage, they typically do not yet have names - instead, they are referred to by a shortened form of their state-assigned identification code, which later serves as a "surname" once they are given first names shortly before entering primary education. The duration of this stage also varies - sixteen months for A-classes, twenty for P-classes, and two years for M-classes. It is the only stage of education in which class segregation is absolute.

In progress...

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Artist's depiction of the Abyssal Core
In progress...

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Apartment blocks in Ulthar
While Khoronzonite architecture can feature a variety of styles - though rarely within the same district or city sector - it almost invariably adheres to a set of key tenets: grandeur, power, and fortitude.

In progress...

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Ultharan citizens in typical local attire
Physical appearance is valued highly in Khoronzon, particularly after the advent of Emperor Narcissus - in part due to reforms enacted by him enhancing preexisting cultural norms on the matter, and in part because the Emperor's values tend to bleed out into national culture regardless. Vanity is considered a virtue, and lacking diligence for maintaining one's outward image is seen as disrespectful and severely undignified. Fashion design is centrally planned by the art-focused branches of the Ministry of Truth, treating the nation essentially as a massive canvas on which their visions are projected; both style and distribution are carefully tailored to fit the surrounding architecture and ambience, and vice versa, so that citizens and cities aesthetically complement each other to elevate the whole. As a result, many cities have distinctive local styles that match their overall atmosphere and function - residents of Ulthar tend to be draped in long, flowing garments, while citizens in Exorias usually have a far more militaristic, industrial look. Generally, Khoronzonite clothing makes relatively little use of colours, favouring black, white, or grey as bases which are sometimes accentuated by limited quantities of more vivid tones, occasionally taking the form of luminescent strips, patches, or images.

Variations in attire between individual citizens tend to be less valued than collective aesthetic synchronicity, and are thus somewhat less prominent or widespread than in more individualistic societies, though that is not to say they are nonexistent. Outfits are typically modular, with "base" clothing being easily fitted with various utilitarian or decorative attachments, and tailors are commonplace to provide assistance with adjustments and sizing. The degree of variation in clothing is usually based on sociopolitical standing - a moderately-esteemed P-class, for instance, is granted notably more elaborate outfits, as well as a wider degree of choice and customisation, than a typical M-class. Rather than being due to exchange value and financial stratification, though, this restriction is directly linked to sociopolitical rank through the Oversight Network's credit scoring systems.

Besides clothing, various adornments such as makeup or jewelry are commonplace even among those of low sociopolitical status - these tend to be relatively modest, such as simple eyeliner, small ear piercings, or mildly-decorated bracelets, rings, or necklaces, though elaborate jewelry and makeup tends to become more widespread at increasing hierarchical levels, mainly within the Ministry of Truth. In addition, Khoronzonites tend to have medium to long hair and be otherwise clean-shaven, which, combined with the relative frequency of makeup and jewelry as well as the general tendency for most clothing to not lean particularly heavily towards a specific gender, often results in a vaguely androgynous appearance.

16, M, Student, Thalarion V8-5

19, F, Musician, Xura K4-1

27, F, GenSec, Exorias I5-2

23, M, Acolyte, Aira A3-2

21, F, Nurse, Akhra V4-4

24, M, Aegis, Shugara Hades-7

16, F, Student, Serannian K7-6

31, M, PGSS, Akariel K1-3

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"Visions No.6" - Shahntset, 3rd Aira Coven
In progress...

[OOC credit: Otto Dix - Der Krieg]

[OOC credit: Otto Dix - Self-Portrait as Mars]

[OOC credit: Konstantin Yuon - The New Planet]

[OOC credit: George Grosz - Explosion]

[OOC credit: Luigi Russolo - Dynamism of a Car]

[OOC credit: Anders Røkkum - Untitled]

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Concert stage in Thalarion
In progress...

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Approved by the Ministry of Order
Department of Archives and Record Storage