Solar Empire

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Sun--Moon--Man--God--Apostasies--Apotheosis

Eclipse * History * The Solar Empire * The Lunar Empire * Locations * Cast

The Solar Empire
Political Information
CapitalKasusthali
GovernmentTheocratic Imperial Monarchy
Leader(s)Emperor Kakudmi and the Radiant Queen
Population30 million
WealthVery High
Importssalt, lumber
Exportssugar cane, gold, silver, fine clothing
Societal Information
Language(s)Skyfall Tongue
Religion(s)Children of the Sun
TechnologyMiddle Ages with advances

The people of the Solar Empire have fair hair and skin, but deep tans from their time under the sun. They bask in sunlight and enjoy the pleasures of clear seas and skies. Because of their long animosity with the lunars, they avoid coming out at night whenever possible. Common people tell stories of werebeasts that stalk even through city streets at night.

Culture

In the city, men typically wear a loose, sheer shirt called a barong, which is made from translucent banana leaves and thus keeps one cool. In the fields, they often wear nothing but a long loin cloth. Women wear a blouse and skirt, usually made from the less translucent linen.

Solar marriages must be officiated by a curate of the Children of the Sun to be recognized. While those with wealth or powerful families often have such ceremonies in the Sun Temple, common people or those not living in the capital hold ceremonies at smaller temples. The ceremonies always take place at midday. The couple sings a hymn along with the Children and is then blessed with holy water. They vow love until the dying of the sun.

Solars favor sweet or spicy foods, much of which they draw from the sea. Shrimp, scallops, and grouper are the most common dishes, always served with rice. Wild boar is a delicacy reserved for special occasions, but pork stew is fairly common. Solars also serve natural fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas, and pineapple. Using sugar crop they craft a number of sweet deserts, such as powdered cookies and sweet breads.

Solar architecture emphasizes openness and light; those buildings greater than one story almost always feature an open atrium and large windows. Few buildings tunnel below ground, with the exception of emergency cellars against hurricanes.

Almost every day one can hear lively music in streets, usually with an emphasis on drums and a lighter focus on wind instruments. Dancing involves losing oneself in the rhythm, whirling and leaping. Artists hold a place of respect in solar society, especially musicians, but also painter and sculptors. While most solars see the lunar obsession with theater as a waste of time, they do enjoy religious reenactments. Solars often keep iguanas or smaller lizards as pets. In Kasusthali it is not unusual to see dozens of people walking the streets with small iguanas on their shoulders or in their arms. Solars commonly swear or express a gamble with the expression, “let the moon fall from the sky.” The common greeting is “sun warm your face.” Solars have a strong sense of personal and familial honor and are quick to take offense at slights, especially towards their mothers.

Religion

Solars worship the sun god Surya, claiming descent from him, and thus calling their religion Children of the Sun. The leader of their religion, the Radiant Queen--currently Sima, properly addressed as “your radiance”-- is called the bride of the sun god and thus speaks with his voice. As such, she holds as much authority as the emperor himself. Any emperor that crosses the Radiant Queen rarely remains emperor for long. Twelve curates serve the Radiant Queen, and beneath them hundreds of initiates in varying degrees, each hoping to one day become a curate. Both men and women can become initiates and curates, but only women can rule the Children.

In addition to other offices of the faith, the Office of Orthodoxy holds a special rank within the Children. The curate chosen to lead the Office is assigned to root out heresy within the Solar Empire. The government affords the Office a great deal of leeway in pursuit of its ends.

The Children's center of power and worship is the Sun Temple, a great dome rising from the sea at the heart of the capital city. This dome is lined with mirrors that reflect sunlight down into the atrium. Here, the faithful gather to sing the hymns of the sun, which reverberate throughout the capital, carried through the water by the crystal tubes. The Children also consider the Astral Temple holy ground, and since it is the holy site of the lunars, this site has been one of the greatest sources of tension between the two empires. To the solars, the Astral Temple represents the prophesied place where they will receive the blessing of Surya. That they discovered the sun pact while in possession of this place confirms prophecy in the eyes of many of the faith.

Over the last several centuries the solars have come to condemn the moon god as the vile foe of their pure sun god. They will not speak his name, and if they must write it, they write it only upside down as a sign of contempt.

The solar creation myth tells that once primal waters covered everything. From these primal waters, the sun god rose and from his rays birthed the air and moisture. From the air and moisture came sky and earth. On seeing his children, the sun wept tears that became humanity. The solar religion also states that the sun god, in physical form, sired their particular race.

Social Structure

Emperor Kakudmi rules the solars. Solar society traces descent matrilineally; both men and women can have voices in government, however, the eldest daughter will always inherit first. It carries an inherent duality of two groups carrying almost equal power: the secular government and the faith. The faith accepts all comers willing to devout their lives to its service. At the head of the government sits the emperor. The imperial family is a monarchy; though the position is inherited through the mother (and through marriage), the emperor is always a man, the male counterpart to the Radiant Queen. The Solar Empire supports no aristocracy; the emperor appoints six consuls as his heads of state, each as the head of a ministry. The six ministries are the Ministries of Information, Finance, Commerce, War, Law, and Health.

The Ministry of Law appoints a governor for each island in the Solar Empire, and each governor appoints an Attendant to govern individual settlements on notable size. Each governor must receive a sanction from a curate before he can accept his position. The Ministry of Law also drafts and enforces laws. The Ministry of Information controls what news is passed on to citizens and oversees the Academy. The Ministry of Finance oversees tithing to the Children and the distribution of wealth in the Empire. The Ministry of Commerce regulates trade and collects a cut of import profits to be sent to the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Health oversees issues of public welfare. The Ministry of War leads the military.

Beyond the solars themselves, the next largest group in the empire is the Agnis. The Agnis that refused to convert to the solar religion have become second class citizens, nearly outcast, fit only for manual labor and merchant guilds. Solars avoid physical contact with the fire worshippers and are forbidden to dine with them.

Military

The Solar Empire maintains a rigidly ordered military. Both men and women can serve in the military, but it is more common for men--in fact, to get ahead in secular society one usually has to have had a military record. The solar army is divided into several battalions, each battalion consisting of five hundred men and in turn subdivided into five companies of one hundred men. Additionally, the Arun Guard--a select order of warriors--serve as sworn protectors of the imperial family. The empire also maintains a sizable navy.

NOTE:
The biggest edge here is the teleporting. I see it, for example, as using mantas to skirt under water, teleport on a ship, kill someone, and teleport back onto the manta before it finishes diving back underwater. I wanted manta riders for exotic coolness. But I wonder if the pact should effect other animals like that, too?

The greatest asset of the solar military, however, is the sun pact. Members of the Arun Guard and other select warriors receive this boon. No Lunars and few Solars truly understand the pact, but it has given the solars the chance to combat the awesome powers of the moon-touched. Those granted the sun pact receive it through a golden sun tattoo that covers their backs and arms. While charged, this tattoo glistens like gold; however, as the pact bearer uses the charged energy, the tattoo loses its luster. The bearer can recharge a depleted pact by basking in sunlight for several hours. The sun pact allows the bearer to increase his strength or speed, transfer heat with his touch--enough to sear even a lycanthrope --or most powerfully of all, to use the sun stride. The sun stride allows the pact bearer to instantly teleport to a visible location; the farther the stride, the more energy it uses up. The sun pact also allows the user to fascinate mantas, and thus solars sometimes ride them for short-distance water-born skirmishes.

Solar warriors typically train with a single-edged sword called a kampilan [[1]]. Though designed as a one-handed weapon, its long counterbalance hilt allows a two-handed grip. The blade, while narrow at the base, grows slightly wider at the tip.

Economy

Nacreous pearls are the primary form of currency in the Solar Empire. Divers harvest these pearls offshore, always owing a cut of their profits to the government, regardless of who sponsors the dive. In this way, the imperial ministry of finance regulates economic inflation. Additionally, aragonite and sometimes gold also find use as currency. The empire imposes rigid standards of weight and purity measurements on all three commodities.

While many solars are fishermen, the greatest crop grown by their farmers is sugar cane, which is also the primary export to the Lunar Empire. It is also the prime target of pirate ships. Solars also mine gold and silver. They produce fine clothing, some of which they export to the lunars.

Law

All criminal cases must be brought before a jury of six officers of the Ministry of Law and six members of the clergy. If available, a curate administrates trials and disputes. Solar law is extremely bureaucratic; every procedure requires careful cataloging, every letter of the law must be adhered to. All citizens receive a complex set of rights and responsibilities; lunars and other non-citizens receive a different set. Among the rights available to citizens includes a lawyer either of the defendants choice or an appointed initiate of the faith.

The empire does not impose taxes; however, all citizens are expected to make a yearly tithe to the priesthood, and the priests are required to turn over one half of the tithed funds to the government. Secular government officials oversee this process scrupulously. Solar law forbids slavery, though it permits indentured servitude for a period no greater than six years. Solar society does not imprison criminals. Minor offenses are dealt with by fines and seizures of assets. Serious crimes warrant exile upon the sea with two days food and water rations. The greatest of crimes are punished by being burned alive.