“The Guardians watch from above, son. Go and bring war. Let these fiends know what Artharon fury and valor is.”
- - Artharon elder's saying to his warrior son
One of the most ancient extant species that inhabit the Andromeda Galaxy, the Artharons are a martial race of sentient felines native to Segmentum Crepusculum. Fierce, violent and noble, this proud and individualistic species once ruled the entirety of their home sector, but had since then become divided into numerous noble houses and clans without any semblance of a single government. However, in the aftermath of recent conflicts and thanks to the actions of its more ambitious warlords such as Kagu'sai the Proud, Thar'nyan the Dreaded or Fela'thoran the Cunning, the Artharons species has become significantly more unified, forming a federal government now known as the Coalition.
Now, the Artharons are a rapidly advancing species and a part of the Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth, their new empire spanning over the western reaches of Crepusculum. Their extensive colonialism is causing much distress in the other nations of the Commonwealth, with many nations such as the Divinarium believing that the Artharons have to be stopped before they become a threat. The Artharons' ancient feuds with other Crepusculum species such as the Fyrvrtha or the Radeons further increases the international tensions in the segmentum, and it is believed by many Andromedan futurologists that a new conflict between the Artharons (and by extent the rest of the Coalition) and the other Commonwealth species is inevitable. Only time will tell if they are right.
The First Artharon Realm
Artharons are, surprisingly, an ancient species, and despite the fact that most of their history is lost to the ages forever, it is known for sure that they are only marginally younger than the Draconis. Much like now, they were a nation of warriors, but as their technology and culture advanced, their hunter instincts were lost, replaced by greed, corruption and hedonism. Reaching a pinnacle of advancement, they have colonised countless world in Segmentum Crepusculum, truly the largest empire in this area for all history. The First Artharon Realm came into power, a perfect nation where tehnology reigned supreme, with culture akin to the Empire of Halloway of the modern ages. Artharons have created a paradise where they did not need to work in any way, their life governed by watchful artificial intelligences.
Unfortunately, all things do end, and the technological Eden of the First Artharon Realm rotted and crumbled. Many things are believed to be the reason for the collapse of their civilisation. The commonly accepted theory is that their overuse of hypermatter and hyperspatial matter for their hedonistic goals resulted in hyperspace turning dangerous and unusable for communication, with AI networks of Artharon Realm breaking and their grand garden cities turning into rust. Other reasons such as AI uprising and divine retribution are named as well.
Period of Strife
Thus, Artharon civilisation turned into dust and Heaven became Hell; only a few of those Artharons who were left after this apocalypse managed to survive. However, in such moments the mentality of all species can change, and it did, the hunter instincts of Artharons reemerging. Over centuries, those who were once hedonists became brutal warriors; massive wars were waged over scraps of ancient technology and slowly and painfully civilisation emerged again, on some planets at least.
After millenia, the pitiful remains of Artharon civilisation slowly reassembled as a nation bred on ages of blood, once again an empire of brutal but honourable barbarians. With most of technology being the remains of the First Realm's might, it was doubtful that they could ever restore their original power due to technological stagnation and wars between worlds were tearing Artharon space apart. Peace between the Artharon houses and clans was rare it best, and only occured in case of an external threat. Because of this, the weakened Artharons became prey for Fyrvrtha, another species in the Segmentum, who certainly did not find barbarians pillaging their lands worthy of life. There was only one solution: extermination.
The Second Artharon Realm
“Much like my people in the ancient ages, the Guardians have forsaken the Fyrvrtha Dominion for their arrogance and luxury. We, born from wild and untamed worlds, deny these sins and live with honour, and so, our age is nigh. Pray for whatever gods you worship, for the age of the Second Realm has begun.”
- - Warchief Tharranar
Terror came upon Artharons; but as often happens in such situation, united by a common enemy the species did unite: the messiah appeared amongst Artharon, from one of the kingdoms' noble families. Warchief Tharranar'nyan (also known as Tharranar or Thar'nyan). Rising in authority by participating in raids and minor military conflicts, his wisdom, cunning and brutality made Artharon turn their wild hatred into a deadly weapon of terror, unmatched even by Fyrvrtha warmachine. Eventually, the newly recreated Artharon Realm pushed Fyrvrtha back to their original worlds.
For the following millenia Artharons did continue to fight - among themselves. With their warchief dead, Artharon clans fell into conflict again, crime and war rising. This gave Fyrvrtha an advantage, making them able to restore their territories; however, they feared another warchief appearing amidst Artharons; as such, they seeked allies. Eventually finding one in the Divinarium, a third major conflict began. Artharons, led by yet another warchief, Thar'nyan rallied the Coalition while Fyrvrtha used highly advanced technology of Radeon designs now. The Coalition fleet eventually managed to besiege Crepusculum where they were confronted by the Divinarium armada and there, the Warchief was killed, sending Artharons into chaos. As such, a truce was signed and Artharon homeworld of Tharrus became a neutral zone. Despite their initial defeat, however, Artharons managed to survive, and a new warchief, Fela'thoran emerged from the margraves of planet Anthanor, and this world became their new capital.
Artharon outward appearance is humanoid and yet animalistic, somewhat similar to Radeons (many believe that the two species are related, though neither of them agree) but with features akin to felines than to rodents; they have sharp, carnivorous teeth and strong legs allowing them to leap at their enemies, a tactic feared by Divinarium officers. They have strong, defined muscles and a thick coat of fur covering their bodies, usually longer at their heads; many Artharons sport manes and whiskers which they do caress or put into braids. Artharon fur can vary greatly in colour and patterns. Although golden plain fur is by far the most common, orange, brown, red, or (rarely) light gray coats are also quite widespread among Artharon population. Some Artharons also sport stripes or spots. Each coat pattern is unique and it is an easy way to recognise an Artharon as well as the clan and house he or she belongs to. Members of house Sai, for example, are well known for their reddish striped fur which makes them similar to Terran tigers. Unlike Earth felines (and Radeons), however, Artharons are mostly diurnal.
Artharon life cycle is notably short: even with advanced medical tech, their lifespan can only reach 70 Praestol years at best. However, Artharons compensate for this with their quick thinking; although they are usually considered to be less intelligent than the longer-living races of Andromeda such as Radeons or Draconis (which is actually partially true, albeit mostly for cultural reasons rather than pure biology), Artharons are in fact extremely fast learners. It is normal for Artharon cubs to become adult in less than 8 years, and although they will probably be less educated than Radeons of similar mental age, they will neverthless be already physically and mentally mature enough to contribute to the Artharon society. This in particular is one of the reasons the Coalition has managed to become a full-fledged superpower in less than a decade: although Artharon scientific and cltural progress is limited by their lifespan, they always have a fresh supply of new ideas coming into their society.
Artharon females are fairly similar to males, their frames more petite albeit still strong. Artharons are greatly committed to their mates and typically bond for life, although polygamy is fairly common.
Artharons are among the strongest Andromedan species, only rivalled by Zazane in terms of physical strength. They are far from being brutes, however, their feline physique giving them a slim physique as well as high agility. The most notable part of their biology is that their muscles are connected with far more blood vessels and nerves than normally, allowing them to transfer more energy to them. Although this allows Artharons to perform feats of strength unparalleled by other species of similar size, this also greatly decreases their endurance (although an average Artharon can ran much faster than a human, (s)he will also lose stamina quickly) and makes them much much more sensitive to injury. Pain tolerance is as such an important facet of Artharon martial arts which is greatly emphasised.
Artharons are brutal and violent, but at the same times, honourable and even, in some twisted way, cultured. Considering their civilisation superior due to their heritage, they however are not used to extravagance and luxury (except as a way to show their status); seeing martial prowess as the best way to prove your nobility. To decieve is the greatest shame for an Artharon and they are merciless to those who do conspire and plot against their superiors to achieve power instead of challenging them honourably. Still, the more unsavoury of Artharon nobles do not shy away from using more underhanded tactics when necessary.
Artharons do not believe in a single deity, but they honour so-called Guardians, the "guardian angels" of Artharons and their clans that oversee their deeds in life and judge them on death. They generally believe that their souls are reborn in the new clan members' bodies, which is why family life is sacred to an Artharon; to accuse an Artharon of infidelity is a grave offense that might have to be resolved in a duel. Artharon society is notably patriarchal. Before Reta'nyan's reforms, females were prohibited from recieving inheritance and serving in most government and military institutions, and it is still a rarity to find a female Artharon in an important social position (with some notable exceptions such as Warmistress Abal'nyan). Polygamy is also fairly common, although only one female is considered to be a "true" wife as far as inheritance is concerned.
For these reasons, Artharon females who find themselves oppressed and feel that their potential is limited by sexism often resort to interstellar crime (where less patriarchal species such as Radeons or Tertanai are more prevalent) in order to gain status beyond what is allowed by Artharon social norms. Female Artharon bounty hunters, mercenaries and criminal leaders are thus quite common (and often exoticised by the younger members of their species).
Artharon society can be described as aristocratic and based on kinship. However, there is an important distinction that sets Artharon clans, or ghaar in Khasthai, from similar human familial structures: they are based not purely on blood ties. Anyone, given they show their loyalty and skill, can join a clan, and there even have been cases - unusual, but not exceptional - where aliens were admitted. Neverthless, all clansmen are sworn to consider each other brothers, and in case one of the clan was wronged or killed (especially outside of a battlefield), all of its members are to avenge them; the tradition of vendetta, or blood feud, was commonplace before the Andromeda War, and remains in practice even today. Amongst other clan traditions are the rites of collective mourning for fallen kin (full of emotion and elaborate rituals, but also mercifully short, considering the species's fleeting lifespan) and the practice of ritual suicide to clean the shame from the clan as a whole.
Much like Draconis houses, Artharon clans encompass all of their species, and few have no allegiance to clan whatsoever. Each clan has a certain job: there are clans of warriors, clans of artisans and even clans of scholars who carry the ancient knowledge of the First Realm. The ritual of joining a clan is sacred to Artharons; in order to complete this ritual, one does not only have to show his skills in whatever art a clan is specialised in but also to endure the Trial of Blood: aspirants are tattooed with a poisonous blade that leaves severe scars and brings wreaking pain, and only those who endure do join. This tattoo usually reflects the aspirant's skills and personality: a skilled pilot might be marked with a lightning bolt, while artisans often do recieve stylised crystals as tattoos.
Above the clans are Kindreds, conglomerations of several families led by a single noble clan, governed in turn by a council of elders and its firstborn son. Kindreds are (relatively) few in number, but control not houses and factories but entire star systems. The leading clan of the kindred usually has a single-syllable name, indicating its importance - such as Sai, Nyan or Ni (Thoran would seem to be an exception, but "ora" is in actuality a long triphthong, with "r" indicating a growling sound that humans cannot replicate), and have a particularily long and gloried history dating back to the Old Realm. Other clans under its patronage would have longer surnames, but would always integrate within it the clan names of their lords: for example, the warriors under the patronage of clan Ni would be known as the Niju, or knights of the Ni. Amongst the most important kindreds are:
- Nyan: as of the Shattering, the most powerful Artharon clan. Descended from famed conqueror Thar'nyan. Known for their military prowess, and also their females, considered to be both demure on the outside while dangerous and deadly on the inside - and, like all of their clan, eager to fight. Other clans, with their patriarchal attitudes, consider this a very negative trait. Their traditional colour is yellow, and their fiefdom was traditionally Tharrus, the homeworld of all Artharon, but was later moved to Karathon where it remains today.
- Thoran: considered to be one of the wealthiest but also the most unsavory clans, clan Thoran's wealth is built mostly on the work of their many bounty hunters, assassins and poisoners. Considered to be untrustworthy, especially after the Andromeda War. Known also as great patrons of art and music; their patriarch and founder, Koto'thoran, allegedly invented the legendary xam-steel drum-zither. Aside from being masterful at playing the instrument of his own creation, Koto apparently also killed no less than a dozen other clan chiefs with it. Their traditional colour is grey, and their fiefdom is the stormy world of Anthanor.
- Ni: historians and scholars. Perhaps the most traditionalistic clan among all Artharons, the orators of clan Ni have sworn not to allow the art of letters to tarnish their recordings, and thus learn and recite the great sagas of their race word by word instead of writing them down. Thankfully, the introduction of recording technology of clan Kahr helped to resolve the problem of important historical details being forgotten or twisted by biased skalds, but clan Ni scholars are still known to tamper with recordings to suit their agendas. Their traditional colour is purple and their fiefdom is the ice world of Pythonarr.
- Sai: proud warriors and skilled strategists, the Sai have long been the sworn enemy of clan Nyan, with whom they often quarreled for dominance. What separates the two is their view on warfare: the Nyan treat it more as an art, where personal skill in battle was deemed most important, while the Sai believe organisation, strategy and leadership to be the chief virtues of an army. The Sai enjoyed a period of brief dominance during the Second War of Black Fog and even managed to unite all Artharons for a few years, but their empire crumbled with the death of their leader, Kagu'sai, at the hands of the Corruptus. Since then, the Sai harbour a strong hatred of all things demonic and supernatural. Their traditional colour is red and their fiefdom is the desert world of Kashanar.
- Xam: probably the smallest of all great clans but also one of the most important, clan Xam is the sole producer of xam-steel, the particularily lightweight and strong metallic alloy used in Artharon armour. How exactly they procure and create it is unclear, but it is believed to be linked somehow to the unique qualities of their homeworld, where it is mined. Because of the labour-intensive process of creating xam-steel, clan Xam used to practice slavery on an industrial scale, to the distaste of other clans. However, during the New Dawn the Xam were forced to free most of their slaves, causing them to adopt new technologies to mine and forge xam-steel; the introduction of new synthesised materials by the Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth further exacerbated the clan's decline. Now, clan Xam is engaged mostly in criminal activities, selling their armour and weapons to criminals and engaging in piracy and mercenary work. Their traditional colour is blue and their fiefdom, lost during the Shattering, was Angolhadar.
- Age - 18
- Affiliation - The Coalition
- Position - Supreme commander
“Grace, wisdom, honour: virtues of true warriors. We fight to protect.”
Formerly a brainwashed, faceless servant to Fela'thoran's cause, Abal'nyan has recovered her personality and mind thanks to the effort of Quendor Telnhao, and now fully remembers her place in the world and who she is. Still retaining the title of the Warrior and control over the Warchief's armies, Abal'nyan is notably one of the few Artharon females in the Coalition military - and that position is well-deserved. As graceful as she is deadly, Abal'nyan is undoubtedly one of the greatest Artharon warriors in history.
In her domestic life, however, Abal'nyan represents the ideal of an Artharon lady: humble, wise, polite, and loyal to her family. Neverthless, she always retains a little touch of iron and inner strength, and beneath her submissive, feminine facade hides the same warrior she is on the field of battle.
- Age - 30 at the time of death
- Affiliation - Interbellum Coalition
- Position - Supreme leader
“When swords clash and cannons fire, there is no law anymore.”
Fela'thoran was a rarity among his species. While he was a warrior like other Artharon, he was far more cunning and deceitful than most of his kind, more willing to use questionable strategies in order to win. Ambitious and resourceful, the reason for his ascension to the post of Warchief is unknown, as is most of his past. It is known however that he was disowned by his parents and thus had to join his family's rivals, Clan Thoran, as an assassin, later seizing control of Anthanor through machinations and commerce.
In the aftermath of the Second War of Twilight, Fela'thoran managed to keep the warring Artharon clans and Coalition species in relative peace, turning it into an actual state as opposed to a loose confederation of species, and later led it towards war during the Artifact conflict. Ultimately, his reign ended when Abal'nyan, the descendant of the previous warchief he assassinated, returned and defeated him together with Quendor Telnhao.
- Age - 22 at the time of death
- Affiliation - House Sai
- Position - Lord
“People of the Artharon Realm, heed my word!”
- Age - 15
- Affiliation - The Coalition
- Position - Supreme leader
“What I lack in brute strength, I make up for with my brain.”
The other descendant of warlord Thar'nyan, Reta'nyan is the current emperor of the Coalition. Although young and weak for an Artharon, Reta'nyan is gifted with great political savvy and intelligence, the traits his mentors cultivated on the faraway world of Karathon where he was transported to by Abal'nyan after Fela'thoran's rise to power. Now, Reta'nyan uses them to the fullest extent in order to secure the Coalition's lasting prosperity.
Much different from his warlord father, the sickly and physically disabled Reta'nyan is a politican rather than a leader, putting his faith in his sister when it comes to the matters of war. This unorthodox leadership style, coupled with his radical politics that changed Artharon lives singificantly, has made him a rather controversial leader, with many citizens of the Coalition vowing for a new ruler.
- Age - 30 at the time of death
- Affiliation - Second War of Twilight-era The Coalition
- Position - Supreme leader
“If your Spode had wanted you to live, he wouldn't have created me.”
The (in)famous founder of the Coalition, Thar'nyan was both feared and respected. A brutal warrior and a brilliant strategist, Thar'nyan is single-handedly responsible for rallying the Artharon clans and houses (through rather unsavouriy violent means) and forming an army able to successfully challenge a Tier 2 empire. Had he had his way, it is quite possible that Thar'nyan would have completely obliterated the rebuilding Divinarium; (un)fortunately, amidst the last battle for Crepusculum, he was murdered by his loyal assassin, Fela'thoran, who then seized the Warchief Throne and plunged the Artharon clans into petty warfare between each other once again.
Today, most Commonwealth citizens think of Thar'nyan as of a tyrant and a conqueror, courtesy of the many war crimes he has committed, while the subjects of the Coalition idolise him for uniting them and protecting them from Divinarium imperialism. Thar'nyan is as such a subject of much controversy in Andromeda, especially now that the Highlords are attempting to introduce a galactic education system: neither Radeons nor Artharons are willing to allow him to be portrayed in a positive or negative light respectively.
Quotes from others
“Pathetic, unintelligent, cruel, mindless, disgusting, barbaric, half-witted, demented animals.”
“Eh, you guys seem as zealous as the Radeons!”
- - Koluap
“Perhaps an alliance is in order. Just to piss off the Exarch.”
“They have such promise. Their empire was one a mighty power in the galaxy but their passions overcame them. They are an example of why tradition must always lay the foundation for progress.”
- - Lord-Admiral Larnus Vontarion
“Potentially useful for slave labour.”
“An appropriate answer to the Zazane, I look forward to meeting and discussing with them some day.”
- - Tyraz Breek
- The Artharons are based on the Mongol Empire and medieval (and Meiji) Japan.
- This is the Artharons' theme.