“You call us fanatics, betrayers of our faith, you call us dangerous and extremist - but it was you who hid in marble palaces and dined like a queen while we fought tooth and nail to defend the ways of Masaari! You do not understand Spode like we do, Exarch - as wise as you are, you lack the sort of revelation one recieves throughout the years of sacred war, and it is for this reason that we of Dei'Ar reject your call for so-called peace. Spode sees, we may be remembered as fanatics, but we will not be remembered as cowards.”
- - An excerpt from Tadjamad's speech to the citizen of Sanctuarium and Exarch Eolania Menoraim in particular; banned on the planet for its extremist content
The Dei'Ar Theocracy was one of the two remnants of the Masaari Crusade founded after the latter's devastation at the hand of the Xhodocto during the March of the Apocalypse (the other being Exarch Eolania's Sanctuarian Masaari Remnant), formed from the surviving Dei'Ar fleets of the Crusade by Tadjamad Altheless . Officially decried by the mainstream Masaari clergy as an extremist movement, the goal of the Theocracy was to reclaim the devastated Radeon homeworld of Vendespode, exterminate all remaining demon worshippers that survived the War of Ages, and, in the long term, unite not only the Radeon species but all Masaari worshippers under one banner, thus restoring the original Church of Spode to its former glory. To this end, the Theocracy engaged in a series of brutal crusades both in the galaxies of the Gigaquadrant and between them, claiming the lives of countless servants of the Xhodocto as well as many innocents, before being ultimately destroyed after engaging an enemy they could not defeat.
The idea that the Dei'ar Order, as protector of the Radeon state, should take part in its government, is as old as the Order himself. Indeed, even during the days of the Enaran Empire - before the Radeons even mastered spaceflight - military orders that nominally served the Sacred Empress often ended up ruling over her subjects in her name when she was weak or incompetent. The Dei'ar would later continue this practice during the Church's early years, when its rule began extending to outer galaxies. As the authority of the clergy wavered and primitive spaceflight technologies could not yet allow fast communication between distant worlds, the Primarchs of the Order stepped in, taking control of the outer colonies of the empire and eventually Vendespode itself, with military force. The Church back then resembled a feudal domain, where planets and sectors were administered by hereditary generals honour-bound to serve the Primarch.
Though these times were nothing but a distant memory by the time of Telfar's reign, the War of Ages once again brought the Dei'Ar to the forefront, as it was their leader, Tadjamad Altheless, that saved the people of the Church from total annihilation. Meanwhile, the respect towards the Masaari clergy by the public waned. Still afraid of being denounced as militarists after Jaharan ae-Zamarros's bloody crusades, the priests of Spode continuously stalled the Church's rearmament, even after it became clear that the Congregation could not be reasoned with. They were thus blamed for the humiliating defeats of the Radeons against the demon worshippers, and the monumental losses of life that followed.
Thus when Vendespode fell along with most of the Conclave and the ruling Clericarch, the remnants of the Church were split apart between those still loyal to the remaining priesthood, and those who no longer trusted it. The former - intellectuals, old elites and everyone who did not trust a military government - rallied behind Lady Exarch Eolania and fled to Sanctuarium. Most, however, believed more in the hero of the war and aligned themselves with the Dei'Ar Order. Within a few months after the war, Tadjamad had acquired the loyalty of billions of war survivors, amassing enough followers to rebuild the empire.
Rise and Fall
Member states of the Seven Starr Alliance supported Tadjamad's government, respecting his actions during the war. A number of sectors in outer Ottzello Galaxy with a high percentage of habitable worlds - dubbed Gazerash Space - were offered to them as a new homeland for them to rebuild. However, Tadjamad wanted more: he sought to reclaim everything that Telfar had failed to protect, and more. Thus the Dei'Ar fleets scoured what remained of the Church Rifts, placing the surviving Masaari worlds under the Theocracy's suzerainty and purging the remaining demons or demon-worshippers on their path.
Though at first the nations of the Gigaquadrant were supportive of the Theocracy's actions, Tadjamad's pride eventually began to cause a rift between him and his allies, his ambitions matched only by his zeal. In Cyrannus Galaxy, while speaking before the Qiranit Radeon public on Miragna, Tadjamad openly called for rebellion and secession, urging the Spodists of Cyrannus to "cast down the shackles of foreign rule and return to the light of Spode". The resulting scandal ended with the United Republic of Cyrannus publically denouncing the Dei'Ar Theocracy and Agnassana personally slapping the Clericarch in the face. Meanwhile, tales of Dei'Ar soldiers extorting their own civilians, and of cities who refused to accept their rule bombed from the orbit, began to circulate in the media.
In the end, it was Tadjamad's own hubris that doomed his newborn empire. When the War of Claim began and the vile Tabescere started their invasions, the Clericarch was in the process of reclaiming Vendespode, hoping to terraform the ruined planet into a new capital for himself. Despite many of his advisors, including his own brother, continuously pleading him to wait with his plan - for Tabescere fleets were known to traverse in the space around the planet - Tadjamad stubbornly refused, and even welcomed the possibility of a fight - what could be more righteous than battling the wicked undead? Thus, most of the Dei'Ar fleets were to follow their leader, and were subsequently slaughtered by the vastly numerically superior undead force. Without its focal point - Tadjamad himself - as well as most of his army, the Theocracy fell quickly.
With her main political rival dead, Eolania was quick to seize the opportunity, forming numerous diplomatic agreements with former Dei'Ar Theocracy worlds. In time, these agreements would usher in the transformation of Eolania's Sanctuarian Remnant into the Divinarium. The Dei'Ar Order would be recreated within this state as well, headed by those of Tadjamad's followers who survived the War of Claim. However, it would be stripped of much of its political power and traditions, and now operated more as a conventional military, so that it would not become a threat to the clergy's rule ever again.
Society & Culture
“We march not with the words of clerics in mind, but with the will of Spode itself. We live and die in its radiance, for while we are enlightened, we are still blind compared to its omniscience. Yet still we march with certainty, for Tadjamad the Great will show us the way.”
- - Fleet Commander N'xi
As a state whose foundation was what was more or less a Radeon equivalent of a knightly order, the Dei'Ar Theocracy was built on warrior principles: it prioritised military government over civil institutions and the absolute rule of Tadjamad over everything else. There was a strong and obvious divide between those who were Dei'Ar and those who served it. The former included the old military, those who serviced them, as well as everyone who had the will and the strength to follow. These lived on starships, almost never staying on one planet for long, enjoyed significant privileges, and were warriors. Even those who once belonged to civilian castes had to accept the military lifestyle of the Dei'Ar in order to be accepted: everybody who boarded a ship in the Theocracy had to at least fire a gun. The latter were the common people. The Dei'Ar did not bother much with governing their worlds, only showing up once in a while to collect tribute as a reward for their protection, and left them to themselves - though rebellion was of course brutally suppressed.
Despite no longer being ruled by the clergy, the Theocracy not just retained the religiosity of the Church but was even more fanatical. Due to most of the Theosophians siding with Eolania, Spodist ceremonies in the Theocracy were often headed by laymen, who compensated their inexperience with the scripture with their fervour. This kind of simple, unabashed fanaticism characterised Spodism all over the Theocracy, the sole exception to this being the old guard within the Order itself. These continued practicing its own traditional Spodist rites centered around suppressing their desires and emotions, and did not give in to zeal. Tadjamad's cult of personality was almost as important as wwell: he was praised not just as the saviour of the Radeon species, but a man with a direct connection to Spode and the "third prophet".
Seeking to extend its rule to as many former Church domains as possible, the Dei'Ar Theocracy came to include a great number of species, including Imperions, Telzoc and even the occasional Corgel or Precathora who would travel from their home to join the great Tadjamad's army. Radeons were still the majority, but unlike Eolania, who worked to maintain a homogenous and monocultural population in her remnant, Tadjamad did not seek to create a primarily Radeon state and actively accepted followers from all over the Gigaquadrant, provided they were loyal. Particularily important in the Theocracy's functioning were the Sader, a recently converted species found by Tadjamad shortly after the War of Ages: their technological expertise helped the nascent Theocracy maintain and develop its navy.
“We should take note of the words Tadjamad used to describe his government. Narnaa a'Dei'ar, or "Dei'Ar Theocracy". Theocracy - rule by god. Not by the clerics who were wise enough to understand Spode's will, but directly by Spode, who directly spoke through the Clericarch. Here we see how Tadjamad justified his rule, and the extent of his arrogance.”
- - Asha Nashmael, Divinarian historian
Under Tadjamad, the rule of the Theosophian caste was dismantled: the Conclave was dismissed, and the remaining clerics were stripped of their positions of power and were relegated solely to their spiritual duties. However, the theocratic nature of the Church's rule was continued in his empire, albeit in a slightly different way. At the head of the Dei'Ar Theocracy was still a Clericarch, a divine ruler blessed by Spode itself. Tadjamad held this position as a holy prophet, "by divine providence and the will of believers".
This had two consequences. First, without the priesthood behind his back, Tadjamad's rule was absolute. He was not an elected representative as Telfar was but a true autocrat: he alone wielded the power to make laws and pass judgement. On the other hand, however, the lack of an established authority behind him meant that this absolute power stemmed solely from Tadjamad's own charisma and will. His subjects followed him only because of his heroics during the war, and he had to constantly reaffirm his reputation in ostentatious displays of greatness. The Theocracy's constant attacks on demon worshippers, the endless parades and marches on Dei'Ar worlds, and Tadjamad's own jingoist, often eccentric persona all served to reinforce the self-proclaimed Clericarch's cult of personality and legitimise his reign.
Ultimately, the Theocracy was a military dictatorship. All important positions in the government were held by the most loyal of Tadjamad's officers, with negligible civilian representation. For example, the position of Autarch Supreme was held by Tadjamad's twin brother, Tadjeleon. Control over different sectors of Dei'Ar space was likewise given to prominent fleet commanders, who operated as feudal warlords within their fiefs. The Theocracy's military nature was also reflected in the way it governed its population: dissent was ruthlessly squashed, and worlds who refused to pay their tithes were quickly and unceremoniously bombarded from the orbit.
The Dei'Ar Theocracy laid claim on all space that used to belong to the now-destroyed Church of Spode. As such, it spanned throughout the Gigaquadrant: from Plazith Rim to Ottzello's Gazerash Sector, and all over the Endless Space. In practice, however, due to Xhodocto invasions destroying most of the old Church worlds, the Dei'Ar basically ruled over swaths and swaths of no man's land, with only a few habitable planets under its suzerainty. This meant that most of the Theocracy's people had to live in space. The bulk of its population inhabited Worldships - great precursor-made vessels located by Tadjamad during the War of Ages and repurposed by his Sader engineers. Each of these great arks was both a hub of civilian activity and a flying military base, and was the focal point of the Dei'Ar fleet.
In order to harvest resources and wage war, the Worldships and the ships that accompanied them were constantly on the move, flying from sector to sector. This allowed some of the Theocracy's fleets to survive after the bulk of its population and navy were destroyed after the War of Claim; Iovera has been hunting for these fleets ever since, trying to salvage the remaining Worldships - as well as any surviving populations - for the Divinarium.
“Spread fear across the enemy. We are few, but we are experienced: where we will stand, others will flee in terror. We must use this to our advantage. Confuse the enemy, make them question their senses, strike at them from every direction so that they will lose their minds and flee in panic.”
- - Spiritmaster Tadjeleon
The Dei'Ar Theocracy had inherited most of the Church of Spode's military complex, which, while severely reduced after Jaharan's crusades, had been thoroughly reconstructed throughout the War of Ages. At its heart was of course the state's namesake, the ancient Dei'Ar Order, but it had also incorporated many armed groups - armies, fleets and military orders - which used to serve under the Church's de facto independent member states. This meant that there was very little uniformity in the Theocracy's military: each fleet commander was a little warlord who organised and armed their fleet as they saw fit, and answered only to Tadjamad himself. Some fleet commanders, like Spiritmaster Tadjeleon, Tadjamad's twin brother, ruled over entire armadas, while others like Lupercal only commanded a few vessels.
Overall, the Theocracy's military was plagued by two problems: it lacked numbers and a proper industrial base. Few Church worlds had enough survivors to provide troops, and even fewer were developed enough to produce ships, vehicles and weapons (to add insult to injury, the industrial heart of the Church did not even obey Tadjamad). Thus the Dei'Ar had to use whatever they had on hand. Salvaged or trophy ships, retrofitted civilian vessels and even stolen Congregation technology were all found in Theocracy fleets. In terms of strategy, Dei'Ar would often use psychological tactics, sowing terror amongst the enemy by creating psychic illusions, or using misdirection to appear more numerous than they actually were. Myths and legends came to surround the Theocracy's army, with their enemies claiming them to be genetically engineered supersoldiers or restless spirits.
Many surviving Theocracy veterans and officers were later recruited by the Divinarium, and the new state's reconstructed Dei'Ar Order has inherited many of its traditions and tactics.
The Dei'Ar Theocracy was initially very well-received by the intergalactic community. To Sanctuarium's largely impotent protests, the nations of the Seven Starr Alliance recognised Tadjamad's government as the sole legal successor to the old Church of Spode and offered them support anbd humanitarian aid. The Theocracy in turn donated their troops to SSA peacekeeping operations and worked to restore intergalactic infrastructure in the aftermath of the war. However, by its end, the Theocracy's warmongering and claims to foreign worlds had driven many of their allies away from them.
- Seven Starr Alliance - Brothers forever.
- Delpha Coalition of Planets - Onward to victory.
- Rambo Nation - The Quadrants are safe with you watching them.
- Krassio Host - Sons of the Krass are always welcome in our temples.
- Grand Spodist Church - They recognise our struggle.
“Extremists and bloodthirsty maniacs - all of them. I have no idea what madness has struck the war hero of the War of Ages for him to steep so low.”
“False! False followers! Such is the fate of those who follow the teachings of liars, be torn apart and thrown into the pits of hell. Only by following the true light will salvation be achieved. Only through the black light of That Which Devours will my people be saved.”
“Thanks for abandoning me in a giant ice block. Like, really.”
- Though "Dei'Ar Theocracy" was the official term for Tadjamad's government used in international parliance, it is almost never used in Radessic. In the Theocracy itself, the term was only used sparingly in official documents, while public propaganda referred to the country as Dei'nar'iim Aechin'ayim Dia'rath'ayim'naa, or Deinariim for short - the same name as the one used by the Church of Spode and later the Divinarium. In the Divinarium itself, the term "Dei'Ar Theocracy" is avoided as it would imply that government was legitimate, and historians and politicians instead use terms like "Dei'Ar dictatorship", "Tadjamad's regime" or "militarist separatists".
- According to rumours, Dei'Ar soldiers used a special biomechical procedure dubbed Supremis to enhance their soldiers, making them much stronger and aggressive. Unfortunately, even if this procedure existed, no data of any kind about it survived the fall of the Theocracy, much to Iovera's displeasure.
- Rumours also speak of a mysterious robotic commander called Anon serving as Tadjamad's right hand, leading and organising his fleets. Whether that commander existed is again very much debatable.
Out of universe
- The Dei'Ar Theocracy was theImperios's main fiction throughout year 2010, succeeded by the Eola'Nar.
- Notably, the main creature model for Theocracy citizens and soldiers - the Radeon Supremis - was altered around 10 times. The initial model was seen as too thin and was continuously "bulked up", with theImperios keeping a blog to collect feedback from the rest of the users. In-universe, the Radeon Supremis represented the now-noncanon subspecies of Radeons that was created due to Worldship technology altering their biology - stronger and more attuned with Essence.