History, Faith, and Economic PlanningIntroduction
The Dread Realm of Frankia is a multiversal polity that emerged upon the aftermath of the Great Enlightenment and the Reunification War. Its origins, however, date back to the Heroic Age in the Mother Universe. There, the ancestors of the Realm established Empires that existed fleetingly alongside those decadent realms of the Axis and Barlat. Phenomenal achievements were matched by phenomenal catastrophes, with political and sectarian strife bringing down both of the Frankish Empires. Soon, only a handful of the folk remained to carry out what was to be the greatest legacy of the ancestors..
The descendants split into multiple species, following prolonged separation and adaption to different environments. The Frankians, the most numerous of them, claimed the Divine Mandate of the Mater, though they were too partaken to preserving their own sovereignty. After multiple wars, fought by powers which rose and fell, only the Wulfids succeeded in establishing a hegemony over the other powers that has existed to this day.
The folk can trace their ancestry to stars that have long since vanished, to a time when an entire Cosmos was riven by war. The Franks, as they were known then, played a marginal role on the Cosmic stage, though they aligned with the cause that opposed moral imperialism. Such a stance brought on conflict with the Barlatist powers, who desired to impose both their morals and manners on the rest of the Cosmos. Such foolishness led to the Barlat-Laptev War, that brought on the decline of the powers that were once great and the rise of those powers that were once small. As all things must return to the void from which they came, so must nations.
Frankia itself was to engaged in fratricide, too divided over petty notions and displaying a penchant for vain idealism. A preference for monarchy, however, was noted as the republican form of government never suited those that desired their rulers to be noble. Worlds, battles, and such were won and lost with the passing of time. Soon, the portion of the Cosmos which the Realm had originated gradually shrank and was imperiled by forces of disruption whose name has been lost to the sands of time.
Desiring a new home, the ancestors made the Great Trek to a new universe that was far less stagnant. It was here that the Mater Most High revealed herself, leading to the ascendancy of the spirit over the material within the Realm. What arose from the feuding quagmire was a Realm built by devotion and effort, for from the hands of those that cooperate great things can arise. The folk grew in number, became more civilized, and focused on shepherding the developing nations of the Cosmos and offering refuge to those that desired peace.
Frankian media is primarily text or audio, with visual forms of media being deemed "corrupting to the mind" by the Kirk. As such, there is a great demand for works of drama, period pieces, works detailing conflicts, and even poetry collections. Short story collections by the great author Artorious are to be found in every study, usually dealing with the bitter facts of life. His sayings are known to work their way even to official communiques, even with foreign governments.
Music is cherished and sung by all, be it spiritual or secular. Bards are found in every tavern, and a youth who can make even Norva weep is beloved by his parents. Particularly tame, with little of the corruption dealing with the flesh or profanity, there is a good deal of ballads that deal with murder and treachery. More martial music is often sung, to rouse the spirit and ready oneself to endure that which one must for one's Realm and ancestors.
The Frankian is known to despise urban meccas, regarding them with contempt wherever he finds them. His haunt is the commune, his bastion the occasional dome to the Faith or war dead or academie instead of the skyscrapers of the decadent races. Wood traditionally heats his hearth, wine is his drink of life. He cannot subsist without work, without the need to toil until the Mater Atkana calls him to her hall.
Great feasts in the halls of the mighty are open to all, with the best places reserved for those that have aided their community in battle or toil. Here, roasted game is served on trenchers with a rich gravy and plenty of flagons of strong drink. Heavy drinking and eating are cherished on the Days of Feasting proclaimed by the Kirk, but these are interspersed to be sensible.
More often, the Frankian spends his time in the cafes known for good coffee and reading rooms. Food here is much lighter, though there are ample pastries for all comers. As often as not, a good deal of discussion is held here amongst those who have been discharged from their duties due to old age. The aged gather, smoking their great pipes, while tender youths catch the legends of old and the legends of new.
Honor is cherished as important, even worth dying for in the occasional duel with arms. A man might insult a Frankian's religion or Sovereign freely, but if one insults his honor one must watch out for a challenge in the nearest courtyard at dawn. Such matters are often resolved once blood is first drawn, with both parties walking away amicably.
Atkanism is a religion that first arose within the Serene Republic upon the Fall, before gradually spreading to the realm that the Franks established in NS-1. At the beginning, the Followers of the True Path were scattered, but with time they gathered around the Great Father acknowledged by Atkane. This unity, some 1,000 B.R, allowed the Faith to step in where the various warring states of the Franks had failed. At times, the Faith was the only organized structure intact to provide some form of government to the myriad assortment of warring Kingdoms and Leagues that arose.
Atkanism itself is a pantheist religion, with multiple gods recognized with the chief being Atkane. The Mater Most High presided over the creation of all that is, the entire Cosmos, but left it to operate according to her own Law. She did not reveal herself, truly, until the Great Exodus and by that time her following was small. Different orders and heresies had come into existence, further dividing the sheep while the proverbial wolves roamed large. It was then that the Mater Most High realized her flock needed some form of guidance, to prevent them either destroying themselves in zealotry or in falling prey to the lesser truths.
Her daughter Norva is credited with gathering the different Triarchs and Seers together upon the lost citadel of Novana, where each order pledged to abide by the will of the Mater Most High and the avatar which he had sent amongst them. The avatar was a shepherd from the hills of Austrasia, known simply as Feylor, who was said to head the Faith until he ascended to the next cosmic plain 800 B.U. Throughout this age, the Faith's doctrines were formalized and the Path to Enlightenment was established.
Fire was held as sacred, revered as a sign of the Mater Most High's wisdom. Other elements were also revered, for which the Scattered Orders took charge of upholding and praising in shrines scattered across the countryside. Mountain shrines, spring waters, and the great forest were often regarded as familiar haunts of Norva and her servants. It was the wisdom of the Grand Triarch Feylor that all such seeming disunity was made whole, by the advent of the Divine Mysteries.
Worship was to be held in either Sanctuaries where fire burned or in shrines where much was left undisturbed. Sacrifice of lesser sentient lifeforms was permitted, though the Faithful have preferred fasting and charity rather than the offering of what the Mater has so freely given. As time progressed, the Faith attempted to organize feasts by which those that sacrificed livestock to the gods could be served to the Faithful on select holidays. As such, great slaughters are often followed by great feasts in which red wine flows freely.
The Scripturas are the primary written source of the Faithful and is found in every library of those that seek the Path. In it, the origin of the Cosmos is revealed and the true meaning of life is revealed to those that are capable of understanding. In it, the Mater speaks amongst the gods eternal as well as mortal folk.
Atkane, the Mater Atkana, is said to have created the entire Cosmos upon desiring to fill the endless Void around her with Creation. Thus, came forth gods, worlds, and all living things. She then allowed her creations to develop without much influence, though occasionally revealing herself to this people or that in a multitude of forms through lesser servants.
However, as the folk grew capable of enlightenment, the Mater Most High revealed herself to those holy men who had always honored her without knowing. From such holy men poured forth the Scripturas over the course of three hundred cycles after the destruction of the home universe. A combination of poetry and dialogue, the Scripturas contain nine books of varying length with each book representing a core truth of the Cosmos.
Intense study is made of the Scripturas is made from the cycles of four to sixteen, with a portion of the school day spent on its nostrums. Exams are common, with failing students required to take part on pilgrimages of Enlightenment by carrying only the Scripturas. It is by such knowledge, as much by blood, that a subject is considered a true part of the Frankian folk.
In the days of yore, before the fabric of the Cosmos came into being, there was the Mater Atkana. Desiring to put an end to her solitude, she created the Eternal Light whose spreading radiance encompassed all things. What was good sprung forth in the light, but that which was evil survived only in the darkness.
As the ages passed into eons, she observed that the darkness gradually attempted to succumb the light. Desiring to safeguard the realms and life that had spawned, from out of her were sprung forth the immortal gods to safeguard each particular portion of the Cosmos. For a time, the darkness was kept at bay so as harmony between the Creator and her Creations existed.
However, with the passing of the cycles some amongst the gods desired her downfall. Rallying behind the god Severus, the forces of darkness assailed the realms within the embrace of the Eternal Light. It was in this age that the gods joined with mortals to repel the Dark Ones, driving them back into their familiar haunts. It was at this point that Norva Sotar challenged Severus, defeated him in single combat, and drove him into the Cosmic Abyss where the Great Dark Ones had been confined.
For this action, Norva Sotarra was honored with her mother's confirming her as the greatest of her servants. What the word of the Mater Atkana was became the word of Norva, As such, the Cosmic Pax amongst the Sotarrs has reigned until the present day.
In time, this great battle against the forces of light and darkness was lost to the realms that emerged over the course of multiple eons. The worship of Atkana and the Sotars of Light was maintained, by orders that worshipped in secret. Her sacred flame kept burning, generation upon generation, by her servants.
It was only after the migration of FB-1 by the Franks at that time that the Mater revealed herself to them. Inspiring followers and adherents, the Faith known as Atkanism gradually supplanted the other faiths. It was not until the time of the ascendancy of the Wulfids that the Faith became the state religion, with tolerance granted to those who followed what were regarded by the Faith as Sotars of the Mater Atkana.
The morals and manners of the Frankians are regulated by the Faith, and enforced by its officers in cases of impiety. Attendance is required, to reinforce certain moral concepts and to ensure a path for Enlightenment of the subjects of the Dread Sovereigns. To fail to attend to one's ancestors, to maintain proper conduct in peace and war, and to live as the Mater Atkana desires could result in Excommunication by the Faith.
Though it is the state religion, Atkanism is not controlled by the ruling dynasty or the Crown. Its disproval can bring about a sharp reversal in government policy, even at times bringing about the end of the conflicts if her Seers foresee that Mater's disproval. The consolation of the soul, of which Frankians truly believe in, is seen as necessary when in strife with the other beings that share the divine light of the Cosmos.
Oft quoted verses:
"When one joins one another in holy union, they are of the same flesh. Know that to depart from this union, after one's oath, is a grave offense against me."
-Scripturas Book 3; 10:17
"What are ye then, but the dust of the Cosmos. You live and die underneath my scepter, obey! Harken to your Mater Most High, harken to your Immortal Sotarrs!"
-Scripturas Book 5: 9:14
"You are my children, sons of Wylus and daughters of Fredegund, but know that the other folk you share your boundaries with are also your kinsmen. If they share the spark of reason and honor the gods, they are your kinsmen. Shed not their blood unnecessarily, and only in the event of no other course."
-Scripturas Book 3 12:13
By the Flame Eternal, that shall never be extinguished, shall my Oracles flow forth. So long as my servants are honored by you, your folk shall not perish.
-Scripturas Book 2 11:14
It is not by the counting of hands that wisdom is found, but in obedience to one's Lord. As the Lords of Cosmos acknowledge my scepter, so must you the Crowns of those of whom I have gifted.
-Scripturas Book 4 1:21
Show mercy to those set against you and enlighten those that can be in my holy mysteries, There is more glory in bringing the truth to a folk than the sword.
-Scripturas Book 2 12:21
To those that follow the lesser paths to the truth, show no harm to them or the servants of other Lords of the Cosmos. Upon death you shall be both judged by your superiors and by your ancestors before my throne.
-Scripturas Book 3 5:12
What powers I have given you do not use against those in the art of war, unless it be against those that wished to disrupt the Cosmic Void through foul sorcery.
-Scripturas Book 2 13:32
There are some amongst the Faithful who possess abilities which are unnatural, such as the manipulation of the elements or extraordinary healing abilities. Some are said to have been born during the time of Wylus, nearly 1,200 cycles before the present time, though such accounts have not been verified. The High Kirk thoroughly vets such cases and isolates them that they might further develop their powers without corruption from outside influence.
Such prodigies are required to memorize the Scripturas, take part in the Path of Enlightenment all those chosen must take, and embark on rigorous training programs in the event of a conflict if the Dark Ones should return. Reports have circulated that they also take on other duties, such as tending the eternal flame and occasionally experiencing extraordinary visions of past and present. Naturally, the Faith does not take said visions at face value, though at times the Faith has been surprised at how accurate some have come true.
There had initially been neglect in sending forth missionaries to the spacefaring realms, for the Faith was attempting to maintain its place within the Great Realm. Reformers, seeing that they could nowhere within the hierarchical structure, sought permission for it to spread the tenants of Atkanism to the Vranni. Their petitions for formal recognition finally reached the Grand Triarch Attan II, who upon hearing endowed such missionary efforts with both funds and arms to ensure their success.
Atkanism has proven attractive to those faiths that lack the notion of monotheism, with even certain realms that had denied all of the Devas acknowledging them upon witnessing the miracles of the Faith. Many converts have been won through the sharing of knowledge and the missionaries laboring besides the natives of their Sanctuary to raise up structures useful for the community.
The desire to unite with the Whole, which is seen as a spirit of the Mother Most High, is highly desired. Such is accomplished with rigorous fasting and clearing the mind of all except the Scripturas. The Great Folk are more attune to this nature of the Cosmic Reality, capable of levitating should the Mater Most High reach out to them.
Orders have been founded to devote themselves to such, with those of the race who desire not to shed blood retiring from public life. Such serve as Acolytes to the priesthood, assisting them with the liturgy and attending the Eternal Fire. Garbed in sackcloth, such figures are known to occasionally wander into the communes to demand a cleansing of them of all that is regarded as sin.
,The Atkannar are a militant sect within Atkanism that favor martial training and constant recitation of the Scripturas within their schools known as Zarathas. They are taught to fight, never to tell a lie, and to face death boldly in defense of the Faith. Often found in the thick of the fighting, those that follow the Way of the Atkannar prefer hacking and slashing through an enemy like the heroes of old.
At a young age, those who bear no marks after being baptized by fire are brought to the Zarathas. They are instructed by harsh masters, for only those that are strong will be fit to bear the arms of the One that even the gods hold supreme. Familiar they are made with the weapons of the enemies of the Atkana.
To rise, one must fall.
To live, one must die.
To rule, one must serve.
Know ye not that even the gods,
Serve the One?
The Norvati are a sect within Atkanism that have proliferated over the last two hundred cycles. Stress is placed on abstinence, self-discipline, and embarking upon the Path through meditation on the Mater's mysteries. They are known to observe the Long Fast alongside the priesthood, often in a more strict manner than the Elect of Atkane.
For an Atkanite of the Norvati sect the shedding of blood is exclusively forbidden, though he can command forces which do so with a dispensation from the Kirk. One cannot own property as a Norvati, and must live the life of a beggar even if he be the son of a King. They are to function as advocates for the downtrodden, even against the formidable guilds.
They are great wanderers, which makes them all but pariahs for those who are usually bound to their post by familiarity. As such, the Wulfids draw their Vrashas from this Sect, making them the equivalent of the Sovereign's voice within a portion of the Cosmos far from royal authority.
The Vevas are those who have had their spirits transformed by the Holy Fire, and as such believe that they must walk a path of supreme uprightness. They are as strict as the Norvati in their rigorism, but they believe that they must isolate themselves from the outside world in monasteries. Most are women, who believe that they should not defile the temple Atkane has endowed them by knowing a man.
They are seen only by the Faithful during the Holy Month of Atkanum, in which they tend the holy fires of the Sanctuaries. They dress conservatively, thought they do not wear a face which is the joy of Aktane. To attempt to defile a Veva is one of the few crimes punished with death by Frankian law.
Once one becomes a Veva, all petty distinctions cease to exist. All are daughters of Atkane, and are like Norvana entrusted with certain powers by the Origin of Life. This is another test by the Mater Most High, who is said to punish those of the Vevas to abuse what she has bequeathed by casting them into the Abyss.
To live as a man
Piety, honor, and comradeship are the hallmarks of the males of the Great Folk. In youth, they tower over the lesser species, but with age as wisdom increases their stature decreases. The shortest of the Folk are said to be wisest, and their word is harken to even by Sovereigns.
To not work with one's own hands is seen as becoming of a man of the Folk, for idleness is condemned. Work disciplines the mind and the body, and all work even the Elect. A hard worker is valued as much as a brave warrior within the society under the Wulfids.
Frankian women possess great power within the Dread Realm. With the advent of monarchy, they have left the purdah that more common. At times, they have ruled the Realm more ably than menfolk behind the curtain, and at times ascending the Throne should there be no other heir.
They are given certain rights and privileges, with the Law siding against those males who commit adultery. They are allowed to take part in the Iron Youth, and fight alongside their menfolk should the enemy descend from on high. Many have even acquired the rank of Magister, with the passage of time.
Form of Government
Throughout the Realm's long history, the preferable form of government has been monarchy. There has been little dispute on the need for a Sovereign, but what powers he or she might hold over the ruled has been a question of long debate. The Frankian Sovereign is neither an absolute monarch or a constitutional monarch, his or her power is checked by custom.
All yield to the Sovereign, though all recognize the limits of Sovereigns. War and peace are not decided by his or her word, but by careful deliberation by the Magistrum. In the present age, some staunch Royalists have demanded the restoration of the Monarch's right to declare either war or peace. The conservatism of the state, in regards to the separation of powers, has likely prevented further disaster.
In other matters, the Sovereign wields greater power. No more perhaps than economic matters, for such is the pillar on which the Realm itself has survived the ravages of time and war. His or her bureaucracy his loyal to the ruling dynasty, though its own interests at times negate the Sovereign's interests. If oligarchs are destined to be the pillars of every state, the it could be said that a Department head wields as much power as a Prince or one of the Elect.
The economy of the Dread Realm operates under the economic principles and auspices of National Syndicalism, with the means of production essential for the Realm's defense owned by the State. The State is, however, checked by the power of the ancestral guilds and their assemblies. This conflict between state and guild, which so destabilized the successor realms of the 2nd Empire, was resolved with the Great Pledge of Wylus I to honor the rights of the laboring caste.
Central planning and state investment has led to a shift of resources towards heavy industry and infrastructure projects. Heavy industry is restricted to the great works either within orbit or below the surface. It could be said that the State has invested vast resources in improving the productive capacity of the Realm and its ability to withstand attack by hostile powers.
Since the Age of Consolidation of Gerwann II, a state of post-scarcity exists within those worlds comprising the Core Districts. Efforts have been made to raise the standard of living within the Territories and to build National Syndicalism with the Metic Realms by royal fiat. All subjects of the Crown are entitled to healthcare and the necessities of life, with emphasis placed on folk comradeship. Despite the need not to, most subjects take part in labor either in the fields or small workshops to harden both body and to discipline the mind.
Slavery and that of wage slavery are prohibited within the Realm by Crown Law, though the latter is permitted to exist within the Metic Realms. It is seen as necessary in the path of the development of National Syndicalism, though such exploitation of the laboring class within those societies is checked by Royal Governors. Prison labor, on the other hand, is viewed as a form of correction and as such many criminals capable of reform are dispatched to labor within the Sovereign's mines or fields.
Speculation on foreign goods is permitted, as well as the establishment of Fellowships whose area of interest lies with trading with other powers. Such trade is regulated by the Department of Foreign Exchange, with the caveat that Fellowships are entitled to state support for their trade monopolies. Populations involved in such trade with foreigners are required to possess a license and undergo annual reviews based on performance and national character. Some members within the Economic Planning Bureau have raised objections at this "liberalization", believing it to mark the return of the hated barons of capital.
Autarky, whether it be from military hardware to mundane consumer items is stressed, though there is a willingness to adopt new methods should they prove more efficient. The Economic Planning Bureau periodically sends parties abroad to observe and learn new methods in say production, organization, and transit methods. With this assistance, the EPB can at times spearhead reforms to improve the overall productive capacity of the Realm and to reduce waste such a system might possess.
The Great Directorate
The Economic Planning Bureau has launched a series of Plans to rebuild the nation's productive capacity at breakneck speed. New mines, mills, and yards have been laid out with the aim to put such into the production for the benefit of the Realm. While Fellowships might be at a disadvantage when it comes to the Guilds, the EPB has the power to compel Guilds to adhere to the fulfillment of the Plan and to adopt new methods for find themselves with fresh competition from an EPB friendly Guild.
Isles of Syndicalism
Megastructures, the Isles of Syndicalism, receive the bulk of the state's resources. Running like clockwork, they produce goods for internal consumption and export, ranging from arms to consumer goods. Found within orbit or below the surface, they are required by the Faith not to damage that which the Mater Most High had endowed upon her people.
Despite not requiring the number of laborers found, the Isles are meant to give the folk a purpose and discipline in which idleness would be regarded as crushing of the soul. Decadent powers have come and gone, as they know not the value of work with one's own hands. For a Frankian, not working when one can it a great blow to one's self-image and as such all work is dignified even if it be of the lowest category.
The Isles have spread with the resurgence of Frankian power, to form the foundation of new citadels. Refugees from NS-1 and those who are not granted the honor of owning land often find themselves inhabiting these structures for many a cycle. Depending on one's skills and knowledge, honor and gifts are bequeathed to those who are declared Shock Workers of Syndicalism.
Triumphs of Syndicalism
Vast apartment complexes and dorms are constructed, either aboard the orbitals or those works below the surface. These structures are built in an artificial dome, below the surface, which replicates most of what takes place upon the surface. True to Frankian preference, there is plenty of space for the average Guildier. Inspection is periodically made, to determine that the structures are up to code and contain the amenities guaranteed by the Charter of Labor.
Rising as high as the Pillars upon the surface, they largely dominate the surface as do the Sanctuaries and Great Halls. They are conveniently located near the great complexes of industry, and follow a pattern which enables their rapid construction should the shielding upon the surface fail. Like the surface, there is a metro which connects most of the residences to those Warehouses of Syndicalism.
Great boulevards exist, where those with holocar privileges are permitted to drive their vehicles. Like the surface, there are vast structures that have been raised in the name of the National Syndicalist Revolution. If the Kirk, the Peasant, and the Crown dominate the surface, the Communes of the Guildier by far occupy more space than the Halls of the Mighty. Monuments to labor are raised, that rival the Shrines and Sanctuaries in devotion of the working caste.
There is more rationalization in this hidden realm, normally closed off to visitors unless they wish to contract the Labor of the Folk for a special assignment. Rations, weapons, medicine, and a vast array of product is produced unseen by those that are the Elect of Atkane. Through the sweat and the blood of the Guildier, the Eternal Realm's foundations have not faltered even after periodic shocks that have doomed the Empires of Old.
The Wulffig is the official currency of the Realm, utilized largely in the developing regions. The currency is based on a set series of rare and synthetic metals, though said ratio of exchange is depended on relative scarcity. It should be noted that digital currency and credits are also utilized.
Holorail and Elevator service
A great emphasis has been placed on intercommune transit to offset the need for congestion of the skies of Frankian citadels to either commercial or military craft. Such intercommune lines either run on the surface or underground, with the latter being constructed to ferry troops, supplies, and refugees in the event of a siege. The Royal Army Transit Administration, or the RATA, is responsible for the operation of the transit lines, their maintenance, and their expansion. Holorail is by and large preferred to offset damage to the environment and to reduce overall costs of maintenance of more antiquated methods.
It is, however, the nonmilitary applications that promote the lively tourist trade based upon the leave system. Upon the completion of a shift, the Guildier or Peasant is guaranteed the right to roam the surface until the whistle should sound for the next shift. Beyond the vast High Speed Holorail Network, there is a metro which permits transit across those Communes which have been approved of as District Capitals. Such offsets the need to own private shuttles, which historically have been a monopoly of the Fleet.
There is a metro system within the Greater Communes and those metic communities, which have enabled them to do without the need of private automobiles. In a time of war, such facilities serve as shelters and a means of rapidly entraining and detraining soldiers. One can ride the metro free, with those settlements selected as open worlds to showcase the glory of National Syndicalism offering such a convenience to even foreigners.
There is a shuttle service, however, though limited given the penchant for such getting shot down. Rather, elevators within orbit and under the surface are utilized to rapidly transport the bulk of those with permission from their Guild. While the HSHR Network receives more of the attention, it is the elevators which are utilized for hauling the bulk of raw materials and persons between centers of industry.
Tapping into the Grid
The Grid Network, as it is known with the Realm, is responsible for the powering of everything from the holorail to the great warships of the Dread Fleet to personal appliances. Energy is harvested from the Cosmos and the forces that either cause its expansion or its decline through stations that comprise the Network. Such power is more than enough for immediate use, with the surplus stored for use to maintain either defenses or to be funneled into production.
Other power sources are of course used, but these are found wanting in contrast to the potential of the Grid. Such a power source is regarded as holy, a gift of Atkane upon her Children, that should never be used to blot out the mortal realms. For some of the Elect, it is possible to draw upon such energy with a mere thought, but these Blessed rarely are seen lest they become polluted by the world.
The Mater gave us legs
The roads there are vary in quality, with the King's Road Network being restricted for military transit. The bulk of the network is comprised of simple paths from one location to another, for those that which to stretch their legs. Beautiful and built to conform to the landscape, such paths are meant for a hardy folk. There are taverns and stables where one might rest after a hard journey, provided by the Crown.
Key Citadels in the time of Ynga II and Attan the Bold
Austrasia is a predominately agricultural world known for its splendid climate, lack of snowfall, and its sturdy peasantry. Commodity exports range from wheat to wine to cheese to livestock, with each being cherished by merchants for their perceived qualities.
Lords and peasants alike toil in the fields, to build up the strength in peace that is necessary for war. Austrasia's primary export are soldiers, the sturdy Regulars that comprise the regiments of the Dread Sovereigns. Such an influence is noted in the dialect of the Regular Army, which has for since time recorded has been that of the Austrasian.
A free peasantry exists, regulated by tradition, the opinion of his commune, and the respect he has for his lord. Proud of owning the means of his livelihood in common with his fellows, the Austrasian regards himself as the lord of his own domain. This has not prejudiced himself to ignoring his society or its traditions, though it has made him quarrelsome with species of an idle, servile sort.
A matter of an Austrasian's honor is not to be questioned, it being a matter of life and death. Dueling is prevalent within Austrasian society, though it is officially condemned by the priesthood and by the local Governor. Blood feuds, though prevalent in other ages, have been brought to an end by strict policing and by diverting such internal strife to be put to use abroad.
Once a backwater, Gerwannia's importance grew with the advent of the First Clash which witnessed the vast shift in resources to PW-1. Following the outbreak of the Second Clash with the Great Powers, Gerwannia became the new emergency capital upon Neustria's potential liberation. With the loss of the war and growing unrest at home, Gerwannia's status was to remain as the great buildup to turn this far-flung stellar port into a mighty citadel from which Frankian power could be projected.
Resembling Neustria in climate, it is far more mountainous and boasts few areas which are suitable for agriculture. A good portion of the planet is covered in vast forests, from which a great deal is made of the trade in goods such as timber and other forest products. Despite such disadvantages, the systems that guard Gerwannia rich in material resources and storage centers, paving the way for a great ship building capacity.
Urlannenbourg, now referred to as Astarra following the Second War, was once the key citadel located within the Urlann Quadrant. With wars on multiple fronts, and the need to maintain such a citadel and its capabilities, it was subsequently moved to PW-1 with great care and secrecy to a new zone. Following this, Asarra's role changed to that of a secondary world that focused on exploiting the developing areas within the Frankian Realm within PW-1.
Following the Great Rebellion and the Fall of the Urlann, a good deal of the burghers of Astarra were allowed to migrate to the Krekt League or take part in actions abroad. Frankian settlements grew, given the influx of refugees from NS-1 who were in want of housing. Now, the original Urlanna population has declined in overall percentage, but has still maintained a precarious majority.
Following the evacuation of Aralia, the Frankian settlers were bestowed upon them a world for their settlement and exploitation. Araliana is a world of vast landlocked seas, mountain rages, and endless plains. With proper irrigation, the land offers a bounty of grain and other agricultural products for export to the rest of the Realm.
A remnant of the settlement on PW-1's Earth was the retention of strict military code and corvees amongst the Aralianans. This has led to the world providing additional manpower for the Army and Territorial Reserves in times of crisis. Granted, the area that they defend is vast, with much of it being inhabited due to forces that have come from beyond.
The settlers have largely concentrated around the great rivers and temperate zones, avoiding the great deserts that are alien to them. There are still settlements, but such do not exercise the same influence as say the Fabled Three Leagues or the Gift of Aral. For those within the interior, mining until a deposit runs dry has led to a nomadic lifestyle.
Great Dread Fleet
The Dread Fleet was established upon the consolidation of the forces of the Wulfid dynasts following their triumph over their adversaries. From the start, emphasis was placed on this arm at the expense of others to protect the assortment of holdings scattered throughout the Cosmos. Such favors have come at a cost, in the sense that the Dread Fleet is notorious for lagging behind the Fleets of the other Great Powers. Lackluster tradition, a mediocre officer corps, and ships manufactured by less than friendly purveyors have led to attempts at reform in between the great bloodlettings in either war or peace.
Still, there are certain features that distinguish the Dread Fleet from most forces afloat, and that is their reliance on batteryfire and fighting in formation. Despite some efforts to incorporate the ram into the greater capitalships, such designs have been limited compared to the preference for linecraft. With the learning experience of the last Great War, there has been a call for a smaller, more compact, and more mobile force to guard the Citadels that remain. This was made with some great cost, as the Fleet has traditionally been the chief employer of a good portion of the folk since the time of Reunification.
Given the nature of modern conflict within the Void, the Magistrum has veered towards the create of a force capable of conducting operations far, far beyond the frontier of the Realm. This would not entail denuding the defenses of the established citadels for efforts abroad, as took place in the last conflict. Unlike the remainder of the Dread Fleet, the Prasental Fleet is an established force rather than ad hoc formations with a reputation for fairing poorly. Elite units within the Dread Fleet have been assigned to this body, as well as a number of Guards formations to strengthen the firepower of said formations.
Gone is favoritism and random selection, with candidates undergoing thorough evaluation to ensure that said commanders will abide by Fleet protocol. This has led to a shift away from the old nobility towards gentry ennobled from the lower castes, as well as the establishment of cliques. Certain Magisters foster certain factions based around their doctrines and preference, with some being referred to as belonging to the Fabian faction which favors caution or the Nurran faction that fosters shock.
Given the requirement that certain citadels must be able to maintain formations to defend themselves, the Magistrum has ensured that said fleets remain in defense of their own systems. These formations are an anomaly, and vary in strength depending upon the importance of the citadel. In the event of a major enemy breakthrough, these formations are placed under the direct command of the Magister-in-the-Void. Each system is responsible in maintaining the fighting potential of these formations and of updating them to meet changing requirements within Voidkampf.
Most systems favor massed fleets of corvettes, as they are cheaper to maintain than the vast capital flotillas of the Regular formations within the Dread Fleet. Converso systems by and large favor this, as for those folk just initiated into Atkanism are usually placed at a much lower priority of access to sophisticated craft. Relative scarcity, unless offset by funding from the Assembly, ensures that only the Core Citadels can maintain anything close to the capital arm of the Dread Fleet.
The Guards of Novoronda, or the Novorondons, are a royal bodyguard that have grown in importance over the present dynast. Originally a purely land force, it has expanded into the Void to such an extent that it has alarmed the Magistrum. Owing loyalty only to the Crown, the Guards Fleets are independent of the Magistrum and have received official patronage from the Crown. This has led to some alarm, that an autocracy might be on the horizon, though so far the Guards have cooperated with the forces of the Magistrum on affairs beyond the Realm.
Urstanna in the service
With the passage of time since the rising, the heretics of old have entered the service of the Dread Sovereign upon the disintegration of Khymeria. Such bands style themselves as Sworn Swords of the Prophet and various names, but they are reavers and scouts for the most part. Fearless in battle, they are as merciless, being kept in check by their employers from systematically looting and burning.
A wise Magister will utilize them in the first wave or use them in flanking operations, these Sipahi of the Void. Like the Daemons of the Abyss, they are capable of executing maneuvers like a flock of birds. Upon closing with the enemy, they are prone to employing lancefire at close range or ramming the vessels of the foe in order to board them. The Urstanna, Sworn to the Sword, then board such craft in order to wet her decks with the blood of the Unbeliever.
Their behavior as bestowed upon the name "The Mad Fakirs", but within the service of the Dread Throne they are kept in check. It is when they leave the service that their butchery and brutality is known for, often earning them contracts with the warring polities across the Cosmos. To unleash the Mad Fakirs upon an enemy is perhaps worse than sending in a hoard of the damned, for none should be spared upon the sack of a well-walled citadel.
1. Given the nature of Voidkampf, in which a battle might depend on the immediate deployment of reserves to shatter the enemy's flank, all emphasis must be placed on shock, discipline, and the cooperation of assigned forces.
2. Good order ought to be kept, even under the most trying conditions. Capitalships ought not to be deployed without support, lest be overwhelmed and destroyed... Exposing the remnant to annihilation by superior forces.
3. Rational calculation ought to take the place of bold forays, as only through the former can out strength be preserved and the enemy's strength gradually weakened.
4. Even if conscription were to be widely implemented, it would weaken the overall strength of the Dread Fleet and likely lead to the extermination of our experienced personnel.
5. The Dread Fleet is charged with not only victory in the Void, but in securing the precarious Pax. The latter, in a sense, can be easily obtained with cooperation with powers that once were hostile. Criminal bands and brigand realms, unfortunately, can only be dealt with through a show of force.
6.Wars are not won on worlds, they are won in the Void. Our forces must not assign much loss to citadels, that are useful for triggering confrontations that are to our advantage.
The Dread Fleet's OOB is adaptable to the situation and the enemy in which it is engaged with. Whether it be a developing civilization that has imperiled the lives of Her Dread Sovereignness' subjects or a major incursion by a Great Power, the Dread Fleet is capable of mobilizing a sufficient force capable of handling said situation as it should arise.
Grand Armada-2-3 Armadas
Division-3 fleet regiments of the line
Main Batteries: 3 x 4.2km dual batteries, 14 1.8km tri-batteries
Secondary weapons systems: Hypergridinfusion projector, Stellar Lance array, and Nystrana ram
The Dromond project was initiated following the failure of the Dreadnoughts of the Fleet to maintain rough parity with the Great Powers. Foreign assistance was requested, as well as an analysis of the last conflict to design warships that would expand the force projection capabilities of the Fleet. Larger batteries, better hull regeneration capabilities, and greater capacity to propel such a great craft across the Void.
The first Dromond was launched during the Internal Crisis that engulfed the Emerald Pact, and saw action in putting down the rising of Neustrasia after an Ingenious incursion. This was but to be the first of many, as production techniques were improved and subsequent combat roles examined.
Dromonds are, by far, the largest craft that traverse the Void under the Rammenflieg. Maneuvering such craft take great skill, and only the best of the best are allowed the privilege to serve aboard such a vessel. An immense army, despite vast automation, is required to keep such a ship-of-war in the line in the event of either boarding or the failure of certain automotons aboard her.
To see such a craft deploy gridfire is like to witness the beginning of Creation, but such a miracle is deadly for the eyes of the beholder. Bolts of Atkane shall be sent en masse within a concentrated area, preferably within the massed ranks of an enemy charge to do maximum damage. This godly weaponry is utilized sparingly, with lance fire more likely to be employed.
Atkana Class Dreadnought
The Atkana Dreadnoughts were launched during the Great Pax prior to the first Clash. Retrofitted to keep up with the changing times, these warships are prized for both their firepower, maneuverability, and serving as a vital component of the Dread Sovereign's capitalship reserve.
Great batteries are mounted upon her, as is the Frankian tradition. Meant to endure endless pain and hardship, these craft are often deployed at the very front. Great strives have been made in improving maneuverability and defenses, with some eying the future in hull regeneration to offset repair costs within the rear.
Main Battery: 4 2.6km dual batteries, 30 1.2km batteries, and 8 anti-matter lances
Secondary armaments; Thousands of quad turrents, point defense lasers, and naphire lances
Attan Class Cruiser
The Attan Class Cruiser was designed for the purpose of long-range patrols or in rushing from threatened bastion to the next. It boats formidable armament, ranging from the standard batteries to the great grid projector mounted upon her bow. Compared to the Norva Destroyers and the Astarra Corvettes a Cruiser is usually spotted with, they are mistaken as leviathans risen from the Abyss.
The Norvana destroyers have replaced the decrepit destroyers from the last conflict. Longer, better armed, and boasting more creature comforts, such craft have been mass produced to fill the special needs of the swift formations within the Fleet.
A greater emphasis has been placed on the stellar lance, which fires a stream of molten plasma across an intermediate range. Such fire in unison is truly a terrific sight, though added to such fire are the flickering of the tracers of kinetic batteries.
Primary armaments: 1 x 1.2km stellar lance, 4 1.6km kinetic batteires
Secondary armaments: Plasma projectors, anti-ship missiles
Royal Marins contingent:4,200
The Astarra corvette comprises the overwhelming body of the Fleet, having been constructed with an eye to compromise firepower and maneuverability. Though often scoffed at by those powers that deploy great craft, the Astarras are essential in filling the Void with craft that can be easily reproduced. The key weakness of the Great Powers is the notion that quality shall always trump volume, but for each capital lost in the Void by say a rival the Frankians can put far more of such craft into the Void should the need require.
These craft are simple and boast none of the creature comforts found aboard the great ships of the line. They are easy to train upon, with most within the Youth Organizations required to perform a tour on decommissioned models.
Battery:1 x 500 cm kinetic battery, torpedo launchers
Defenses:Quad turrets, pdl system
The Astarra II corvette is an updated version of the primary Frankian ship of the line, with an emphasis on stealth and reconnaissance. The old 500cm gun has been scaled down to a 300cm, though new armaments have been placed aboard designed for long-range combat. Some would claim that the descendant of the original Astarra is not a gunboat per se, but rather a torpedo boat.
Armament: 1.3km kinetic battery, 8 torpedo launchers, and 2 Anax missile launchers
Voltigeur Assault Craft
Prior to Clash, Voltigeur craft were more akin to the sleek corvettes of the Barlatists than anything capable of truly reeking devastation. After analysis of the last war, great effort was to give the Voltigeurs with something that packed more of a punch in a small frame. Frankian logic was to turn such craft into mobile assault guns with the capability of letting loose a torpedo onslaught.
Sleek and maneuverable, the VACs fulfill a skirmishing role for the Fleet and even, at times, a commerce raider. Voltigeur squadrons are instructed in the art of bushwhacking in the Void, with the aim of disrupting enemy cohesion.
Main Battery: 1.2km kinetic battery
Auxiliary batteries:2x 120km batteries
Complementary munitions: K-1 Torpedo Launcher
Defenses:Point Defense Laser system, shielding array
Propulsion: Javana Engine
Dimensions: 4km x 1.5km
Defenses around the main systems
Bastions Against the Unbeliever
Should it come as a surprise, to anyone that has Faith, that the Realm must be shielded against blasphemy? So it was that Ynga II, after the Second Clash, embarked upon a great campaign to fortify the Realm's existing frontiers. Great fortifications and platforms were erected, and mines stretched forth across the Void in a fashion never before seen.
These works were meant to delay and hold the enemy, to make him bleed for every league of sacred space. It was to these bastions that the Elect would gather, to sally forth and do battle with the violators of all that was Holy. Relying on these platforms as vast artillery and projector platforms, they are meant to do as much damage as they receive.
This has marked a shift from fortress worlds, as the enemy has preferred to bypass such fortified systems in the past to target the primary Citadel. What was once poured into symbolic sinkholes as been poured into Great Defensive Works, that are capable of assisting the Fleet in the inevitable counter-attack.
Great numbers of Killercraft and Voltigeur Assault Craft are stationed, capable of entering the Great Fields of Black Death. The numbers involved as are many as the stars in the night sky, and are a sign that the Realm is determined to maintain its hold within the Cosmic firmament.
Wrath of the Void
The excess capacity, generated by the 12 Cycle Plan, has allowed the Realm to erect vast minefields to surround the chief Citadels. Stretching beyond the mere line of sight, these mines are capable of maneuvering en masse should an intruder enter the space of the Faithful without the correct signal. This has largely deterred raids by the lesser powers, and has ensured that the Great Powers will pay for each league with blood.
The mines are largely kinetic, though they are capable of channeling the Grid to unleash a torrent of gridfire from all sides. Wormholes they can create as well, should the AI regard such as more likely to bog down the foe or give him cause to lament entering the Space of the Faithful.
One must be careful, for the mines constructed do no operate on a single design. Some fields are meant to drain the energy fields of enemy vessels, before detonating with the combined force against a weakened craft. The explosions are truly tremendous, but such surprises are kept far from those fields that could detonate at once.
Hammer of the Vani
There are clearings with the vast fields of mines, but once one enters one shall find a trap stored for that squadron which has entered. Endowed with vast energy after decades of drawing power from the Grid, in a moment such energy is shot in a great beam into the ranks of the foe like lightening within a storm.
For those who catch a visual sight, it would appear as though the Vani of the Mythos of the Atkanites had joined the battle. Few are capable of withstanding the force of such eruptions, and the aftermath is a great whirlpool of death capable of sucking in those objects within its immediate vicinity. Such are the snares left for the defilers of the Holy Realm of the Children of Atkane.
Path of the Damned
It is upon breaching the great minefields that one reaches the open Void, but then one comes across the Path that only the stout of heart might venture. Here lurks a vast cloud of ether, suspended by the Elect, in which all chances of determining one's position or that of the enemy is rendered null. To cross, one must use livefeed and holobanners as in days of old, but such a method is likely to result in collisions.
Derelict wrecks are kept, loaded with volatile munitions, and are activated by the motion of passing vessels. Such craft are usually captured from the enemy, and rather than dismantling such prizes such are put to use. When the foe is confused and disoriented, from out of the suspended ether emerge the Rams of Great Lamentation. If all is successful, the craft within the field will fire upon one another and further their destruction.
Such a field is meant to disrupt the advance of the enemy, and render him incapable of massing effectively upon emerging from the field. The Great Dread Fleet does not enter the field, nor the vast minefield, but awaits the disoriented ranks to present themselves for battle within the Void. Weary and broken, these formations have in the past been cut to ribbons, before being allowed to depart from whence they came.
It is not just mortal threats that pose a threat, but those that aim to break the spirit. Cosmic horrors, beyond description, are said to appear before the Damned who have trekked foolishly along this Path. Such pose no harm, but can take forms of loved ones or of horrific things in the lore of the race to feed on their fear that is sensed. They are called the Hounds of Atkane, but they possess no bite worth mentioning.