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“Truly Sanctuarium is the heart of our empire. Not in the poetic sense - what use do Sanctuarians have for something so rambunclous? - but literally. It is a thumping, blooded machine that beats like a clockwork engine, pumping energy in the rest of the Divinarium. Sanctuarium is a very no-nonsense world. Her people have no need for anything that is not immediately useful. Even their faith is mechanical.”
Deianthil, usually referred to in human nations as Sanctuarium (a rough Latin translation of the Classical Radessic term), is a Radeon selenopolis located in the Alpha Centauri system in the Milky Way Galaxy. Formerly homeworld of a near-human race known as the Nebi-Mu, Sanctuarium has been since then claimed and extensively colonised by the Church of Spode, leading to the native population becoming displaced by Radeon immigrants. It is currently co-owned, following the tumultuous events of the Great Xonexian Schism, by the Grand Commonwealth of Sovereign States and the Pan-Andromedan Ecumene.
As one of the Five Heartworlds of the Radeon race and among the most developed Radeon colonies in the entire Gigaquadrant, Sanctuarium is highly important in intergalactic politics, especially for the followers of Spode. Citizens of Sanctuarium are often stereotyped as stern, no-nonsense workaholics obsessed with efficiency and logic. This stereotype is not entirely unfounded: harsh economic competition with local Milky Way species, coupled with the traditional austere religious practices of Sanctuarians, have forged the selenopolis into a well-oiled, strictly organised machine, orderly even by Radeon standards. As homeworld of the reigning Clericarch, as well as of more than 60% of Radeon War of Ages survivors, Sanctuarium's ethics, aesthetics and traditions have greatly influenced the culture of the modern-day Divinarium.
Sanctuarium, as a celestial body, is notably older than Earth, having formed around the same time as its larger parent, the gas giant Dhaelai, around which the satellite orbits - circa 6 billions of years old. As a result, the moon's tectonic activity stopped millions of years ago, thus rendering the planet in a stale, barren state, where there was very little chance for any sort of life to develop. It is thus believed by scientists that all lifeforms native to Sanctuarium were actually transplanted there from Earth by an unknown alien race, presumably the Ashtar. The genetic resemblance of Sanctuarian animal and plant life to those of Earth only serves to prove this theory further. The first civilisation to arise on Sanctuarium - or K'yazuir, as they called it, was that of the Nebi-Mu, a near-human race believed to originate from the Mu civilisation of ancient Earth. Their first nomadic empires were founded circa 100,000 BCE, and since then grew exponentially, their mounted warriors battling one another and conquering each other's grazelands. However, despite the Nebi-Mu's vast domains, their prodigious minds and bodies, and their psychic abilities, their civilisation developed at a very slow pace, as their belligerence and nomadic lifestyle impeded scientific and cultural growth. Most empires that settled down for a more peaceful way of life were quickly conquered and enslaved by its warlike neighbours.
As such, by around 40,000 BCE, the Nebi-Mu race was still in a rather primitive state, having barely developed gunpowder and the printing press. It was then that the first Radeon explorers, coming from distant Endless Space, discovered the Orion Spur, including Alpha Centauri. Though the devotees of Spode were disgusted at first by the Nebi-Mu's brutality, one thing about the savages intrigued them: their psychic abilities. Throughout their journeys across the cosmos, throughout their many crusades and uplifting efforts, Radeons have rarely encountered species with any psychic potential at all, let alone an entire race like their own to whom it was innate. This discovery, coupled with Alpha Centauri's great natural resources, prompted the Church of Spode to uplift the Nebi-Mu and settle K'yazuir.
Hundreds of thousands of missionaries, pioneers, xenologists and prospectors flooded into the new galaxy, eager to benefit the misguided heathens - or benefit from them. Especially important amongst these colonists were the many heretics that practiced various schismatic forms of Masaari. Hoping to find refuge from persecution they faced in the heart of the Church, they jumped at the opportunity to escape Vendespode's clutches. It was them who gave K'yazuir its modern name: Deianthil, meaning sanctuary - later Latinised to Sanctuarium. Especially important amongst them were followers of Theorationalism: a doctrine popular amongst intellectuals that postulated reason as the will of Spode and the binding force of the universe, and rejected the spiritual rule of the Clericarch. Their leaders - scientists, poets, philosophers and engineers - soon became the world's founding fathers, respected not only among Theorationalists, but amongst the entire moon's populace, for it was them who built Sanctuarium.
More than a few centuries passed, and Alpha Centauri transformed into the staging point for further Church colonisation of the Milky Way Galaxy, with Sanctuarium as its heart. The Nebi-Mu were successfully assimilated into Radeon society and converted to Spodism, their belligerent redirected instead at interstellar colonisation, giving the Church billions of new subjects to settle the Orion Spur with. However, the loyalty of the new colonial sector was put into question. The many heretics that took refuge in the Orion Spur and the newly converted natives, who still kept traces of their old pagan beliefs in their faith, remained a blotch on the Church's purity and an offense to the Clericarch's authority. Vendespode decided to take the situation under control. Arrests of notorious heretics began. Inquisitors started appearing in large cities, taking out key anti-clericalists and spreading pro-Vendespode propaganda. Finally, the Dei'ar Order itself was called by the Clericarch, taking the Orion Spur colonies under direct military rule.
It did not take long for the people of Sanctuarium and its satellite worlds to offer resistance. Led by Theorationalist political thinkers and theologians, the Spodists of the Orion Spur rebelled and declared independence, proclaiming the Masaari Republic of Orion. The new Republic rejected the Clericarch's spiritual and worldly authority, vesting its power instead in the democratically elected Assembly of Magisters and the Public Council, and declared complete freedom of religion. Thus began the long Ninety Years War. Though the initial Dei'ar assault was highly succesful, mostly due to the separatists' lack of any proper military, the patriotic citizens of the Orion Republic were fast to organise militia to protect themselves. Nebi-Mu soldiers were particularily important in that war: naturally strong, aggressive and, like most hominids, gifted with great endurance, their batallions proved invaluable in planetary battles. In space, battles were won by Sanctuarium's prodigious strategists, who would formed a basis for the city world's military academies.
After the initial assault of the Church on Sanctuarium failed, largely due to the Dei'ar's lack of experience in low gravity combat, the conflict entered a sluggish phase. With the faulty and slow FTL travel that the Church used at the time, it would take quite a while for Vendespode to regroup and send reinforcements to the loyalists in the Milky Way, and the remaining Dei'ar and their supporters chose instead to fortify their positions on the Spur's fringes. At the same time, with access to Endless Space blocked to Sanctuarium, the separatist republic faced an economical crisis. Now aligned with new trade partners, such as the Kicath Empire, the Khaxvis Dynasty and even the enigmatic Archaeohumans, Sanctuarium was forced to shift its exports from agriculture to industrial products. Factories and electric stations sprang all over the moon's surface, paving way to its eventual transformation into a selenopolis.
It was not long, however, until both sides had licked their wounds and the conflict resumed, this time with renewed violence, as greater armies were brought into the war. Superweapons were brought into conflict: more than a few separatist cities were reduced to ash and one loyalist world, Paechoma, was scoured of life altogether by virus bombs. When Sanctuarium itself was put under the threat of being glassed, the separatists at last relented - but the government on Vendespode, now understanding the rebels' strength, could not simply ignore their demands. Magister Phaqia ae-Murrhiqae and Clericarch Aynach III signed the Holy Charter, which outlined the rights and duties of both the metropole and the Orion colony. The heretical sects of Sanctuarium had to accept communion with the official Church of Spode and accept the Clericarch as their spiritual and political liege; however, the Church would not infringe on the Orion worlds' autonomy or their rites and beliefs.
The now-legitimised Sanctuarian Exarchate would continue to develop. Though some Sanctuarians rejected the Charter, deeming even symbolic fealty to the Divine Throne deplorable, most considered it to be a good enough price for peace. The view of the resulting peace on Vendespode was even more polarising. Many even today consider the Charter to have been the first step towards the destabilisation and degradation of the Church that resulted in its eventual dissolution. Either way, for a time, Sanctuarium prospered. The moon's industrialisation continued at an increasing pace, while its economy, and the society in general, became more and more centralised under the Magisters' absolute rule. Over the centuries, as FTL technology improved, Sanctuarium came to rely on the Nebi-Mu worlds for food imports, thus allowing it to finish its transformation into a selenopolis.
But the city world's growth would not last forever. With planned economy and very few foreign nations to compete with, there came a time when Sanctuarium, as its rulers believed, had reached its apex. There was little point in developing further when a moderately prosperous society had already been achieved. Had there been more empires in the Milky Way to compare Sanctuarium with, someone would have likely called for change, but with no rivals to speak of, the city world's people were more than content to let things stay as they were. At the same time, the rule of the Magisters had grown to the point where new thoughts and ideas were brutally suppressed, and the economic stagnation was followed by cultural stagnation as well.
Ultimately, it took a foreign force to awaken Sanctuarium. Around half a millenium ago, the Milky Way's political landscape was changed by two rising powers: the militaristic Delpha Coalition of Planets and, more importantly, the Terran humanity, a race that Radeons have always dismissed as primitive. The Magisters were taken by surprise by human expansion in the Orion Spur, the region they had always seen as theirs. An ingenious, relentless race that only recently found a way to live for longer than a century, humanity spread like a weed, and soon began to encroach on Sanctuarium's colonies. Some established trading posts, others migrated illegally, some outright bought colonies for their empires - destroying Radeon rule in the Milky Way planet by planet.
Rise of MankindEdit
The tensions between the newcomers and Sanctuarians were exacerbated further by cultural differences between the two civilisations. Radeons, and especially Sanctuarians, believed fiercely in collectivism; in most, if not all human societies it was shunned in favour of personal ambitions. Both Radeons and humans valued sapient rights and the power of law, but if Terrans derived legal power from the people and the democratic process, Sanctuarians limited legislative authority solely to the oligarchy of jurists and scientists. For Radeons, faith and culture were key; they could accept humans if they accepted their beliefs. Amongst humans, speciecism was common, and became especially popular after the genetic link between humans and Nebi-Mu was discovered. Many claimed that mankind's distant cousins were more fit to live with kin rather than with aliens.
It was with the Nebi-Mu that the tensions began its escalation. Sanctuarians could tolerate, somewhat at least, Radeons on Orion worlds being deported or even executed: at least they died pure, their souls free to unite with the universe. However, the way humans strayed the Nebi-Mu from the righteous path, how they sowed the seeds of sin and evil in their hearts and infected them with their materialistic ways - what the apes proudly called "cultural assimilation" - was intolerable. Thus, when the the Iron Priest came to Sanctuarium with a deal, promising to make the simian upstarts pay for their insolence, the Magisters agreed to provide him a small loan of one billion Dei'orbis. The rest - the bloody revolution of the mad cleric, the brutal reunification of Church worlds, the genocidal onslaught of Radeon crusaders on Earth and the subsequent fall of the theocratic regime - is history.
As the dust settled, Sanctuarium found itself the only remaining Radeon world in the Orion Spur: the rest of the Church's territories there were ceded to human empires, its Radeon populations largely deported (voluntarily or involuntarily), leaving only the Nebi-Mu and the new Terran colonists. The name of the moon now had more meaning than ever: it truly was the only sanctuary left for Spodists in the Milky Way. The Assembly, again largely independent, began to rebuild its homeworld and work to clear the name of their people and their faith. The moon's great city hives began to grow deeper underground, so as to accomodate the many refugees from its former colonies. It would seem that Sanctuarium would fade ultimately into obscurity, but, as always, fate intervened, in form of a prodigious girl from the upper hives...
Sanctuarian Church RemnantEdit
That girl, who was called Eolania back then, was raised in one of the many monasteries in the upper hives of Sanctuarium. Nobody knew who her family was, or why she had no team or crew, or if she really was the only survivor of the mysterious explosion that destroyed District 048 - but it was obvious that she showed great interest and talent in all matters scholarly and especially supernatural. As such, she was given a place in the Theosophian caste and, thanks to her nigh-supernatural charisma, eventually rose to the selenopolis's upper circles. Ultimately, even though some believed she could not serve due to the esoteric sect she belonged to, she was elected Magister of Theosophy and Sanctuarium's representative in the Conclave. Under Exarch Eolania's governance, Sanctuarium experienced a period of economic development, largely due to her Act of Free Economic Areas, as well as her uncanny ability to get people to do as she says.
At the same time, the rest of the Church was in chaos - as was the rest of the Gigaquadrant, for the almighty Xhodocto returned, ushering in the war that would dwarf Jaharani crusades in its magnitude. The Endless Space, where most Church worlds were located, was hit the hardest by the hellish onslaught, the Congregation and other demon worshippers laying waste to every Spodist planet they came across. Even after the war was over, around 80% of Church space was left in tatters, and more importantly, Vendespode was scoured of all life, including the reigning Clericarch. Billions of homeless, leaderless Radeons sought someone to guide them and some place to take refuge in. Many threw their lot with the hero of the war, War Predictor Tadjamad, but many found the safety of the Orion Spur far more appealing, and fled to Sanctuarium. Again the name of the moon became prophetic.
Though Eolania welcomed the influx of refugees, the overall sentiment on the selenopolis towards them was thoroughly negative, owing to the long-lasting hatred of the Church metropole in general. However, it was not her nature for the Exarch to simply ignore the plight of billions. 15 years later, after the Annihilation, the solution was finally found: Eolania declared herself Clericarch Iovera I and vowed to reconstitute the Church, proclaiming a large-scale exodus colonisation of the Andromeda Galaxy. With most refugees and migrants, as well as many Sanctuarians, having moved there, stability was once again returned to the selenopolis, which became the secondary capital of the newborn Divinarium. The Assembly of Magisters remained as the local government, but with a new Magister of Theosophy, as Iovera moved to her new palace on Crepusculum.
A new threat to Sanctuarium, which marks its current period, emerged 15 years later, when war broke out between the Civilisation and the Draconid Imperium-France-alliance. Interestingly, while the Divinarium as a whole generally supported the Allies, even though it officially maintained neutrality, Sanctuarium's populace actually supported the Civilisation throughout most of the war. Whereas Radeons in Andromeda were honour-bound to support their Draconis allies, with whom they shared the horrors of the Andromeda War and the Shattering, and were more or less indifferent towards France, Sanctuarians did not care much for the Imperium and were very disdainful towards the rising human superpower, for obvious reasons. The Delpha Coalition of Planets, with whom the selenopolis shared much of its values, was far more appealing to its people.
It was actually Sanctuarium that stopped the Divinarium from entering the war - not because of its pro-DCP sentiment, but rather because it was dangerously close to the Civilisation-aligned Human Superstate. The Clericarch could not risk losing such an important world, whose products were key to the Divinarium's economy, not to mention the fact that it was her homeworld. It was only much later, when Allied forces began to gain more momentum and their victory seemed more likely, that Crepusculum finally agreed to take a side in the conflict. One of the key agreements between the Divinarium and the Allies concerned Sanctuarium: France promised to ensure its safety and security throughout the remainder of the conflict. For the most part, Sanctuarians loathed every passing moment of their protectorate, but neverthless, the French were succesful: save for the initial Civilisation invasion, and a few Human Superstate bombings after that, the selenopolis was never attacked.
After the war was over, Sanctuarium once again was left in a rather uneasy state. Its wedge with the rest of the Divinarium, already large due to its people's hatred for the Divine Throne in general, had grown even more following the shame of the human protectorate, and talks began to secede completely once again. Naturally, the Ecumene could not allow that so easily, and even threatened military occupation. After a rather long period of tensions and prolonged debates on Elysium and later on Halcyon, a solution was finally agreed on: Sanctuarium would become an autonomous state under the joint protectorate of the Ecumene and the newly formed Grand Commonwealth of Sovereign States, which would collectively ensure its security, while Sanctuarium would retain economic and political independence. Thus the Assembly of Magisters has become the Sanctuarium Autocephalic Government. Now enjoying connections both to Andromeda and the Milky Way, Sanctuarium grows ever richer as it has transformed into the Orion Spur's industrial heart - its people hoping to one day overcome the human upstarts once again.
- - A common Sanctuarian mantra, a shortened dialect form of classical Radessic vainath thia siash , which can mean both "we are never alone" and "I am never alone"
Sanctuarium is often described as the pinnacle of the Radeon ideals, where their beliefs in order and unity are taken to the logical extreme. It is also described by some as a defilement of all Radeon ideals, where their innate spirituality is suppressed by the oppressive government. Both descriptions are true. Founded by pilgrims and heretics millenia ago, Sanctuarium's society was, in a sense, a yearning to returning to the "good old days", where life was simple and faith was simple. At the same time, the growth of technology and industry, which defined the city world for millenia, could not help but leave a mark at its denizens and their culture. The resulting collision of religious fundamentalism and technological innovation created a strange, often contradictive world.
Above all, Sanctuarians believe in efficiency. They frown on complexity in culture and religion; they despise senseless philosophising, high art that requires intensive analysis to comprehend, and those religions which do not help in their everyday life. The way of life of the ancients was simple, after all, and time is a valuable commodity on a world like theirs, so there is no point in wasting it on something that is not immediately useful. As such, Sanctuarian art has never quite reached the complexity of symbolism inherent to the art of Vendespode, and is largely relegated to propaganda or entertainment - moralistic, impressive, and grandiose, but largely devoid of originality and depth. Whatever high art they have is largely imported from elsewhere, and generally only enjoyed by the elites.
Another virtue which defines the city world is its collectivism. Though it is a core tenet of Spodism in general, it is on Sanctuarium that it reaches its pinnacle. From young age to the deathbed, Sanctuarians are taught that individual ambitions are nothing next to the collective - whether it be the school class, the work group, or the family. From age 3, children are brought into collective education facilities, where they spend more than half of their daily lives. At 7 begins the boarding school, where class identities are enforced through monthly competitions, and at 17 the mandatory examination with the Divaricators. The pupils are then assigned to the appropriate caste and sent to the upper levels of the city world as part of some team or crew - which will likely remain their companions for the rest of their lives. The common mantra recanted by Sanctuarians, I am not alone, is a fact as much as a moral imperative. To leave a comrade behind is unthinkable, to be left without comrades, even more so.
Also of note is the influence of other Orion races, especially Humanity on Sanctuarium, which creates a rather peculiar form of multiculturalism on the city world. Though human culture is frowned upon by the government and most of the moon's Radeon denizens would prodly declare it inferior to their own, Earth's cuisine, music, art and traditions still seep heavily into its closest neighbour. This is especially true of those elements of human culture that are considered "low", as these are not seen as dangerous and thus not censored. As such, most, if not all Sanctuarians regardless of species are familiar with at least the most popular human foodstuffs (such as rice or tomatoes) and meals (such as burgers or kebabs), and are moderately acquainted with human pop culture and history (especially in the religious context). Perhaps the most striking example of the city world's people adopting Terran culture is the tradition of gift-giving to celebrate the discovery of Sanctuarium, known as the Founder's Day, and obviously influenced by Abrahamic celebrations like Christmas or Hannukah. Though initially the government was quite hostile towards this new festivity due to its religious origins, it was eventually decided that sharing wealth amongst each other was in line with the tenets of Spodism and the holiday became official.
“We see the world around us, and we see no imperfections. No things that cannot be understood or explained, and what we perceive as miracles are merely patterns that we cannot yet discern. The celestial machine of Spode is as infinitely complex as it is infinitely rational. Surely, it would be blasphemy to claim Spode would allow any disharmony not obeying its laws to exist!”
- - Divine Daevloth Aertha'in
It is obvious that, as a Radeon heartworld, Sanctuarium is almost completely Spodist. The dominant branch of Masaari on Sanctuarium is Theorationalism, a rather controversial sect once considered heretical by the Church, brought to the moon millenia ago by refugees and pilgrims fleeing persecution. Theorationalism postulates the innate harmonic perfection of the universe; as Spode is absolutely pure, they argue, it cannot defy the laws of its own creation. Its followers therefore reject any supernatural miracles, the worship of saints, and the unnecessary pompous religious ceremonies. Theorationalism is highly austere, functional, and above all, practical. There are no religious holidays outside of the daily prayers and weekly recitations of the Scrolls of Faith. Worshippers are supposed to prove their faith not by long meditations or nights spent in prayer, but by adherence to the tenets of Masaari in their daily lives. Honesty, austerity, and hard labour for the community of fellow believers is what brings one closer to harmony with the universe.
One of the bigger differences between Theorationalism and mainline Masaari is the role of clergy. Priests are not deemed as bearing actual spiritual power in Theorationalism, but are rather seen solely as jurists and, on the higher level, as legislators, whose task is mainly to interpret divine scripture and the nature of Spode and glean useful laws for society from them. This means that, though the denomintion was originally founded as a way to counteract the "novel" interpretations of the Scrolls of Faith by the priests of Vendespode, the Theorationalist canon has also become somewhat strange over the years, due to adapting to the practical demands of the developing city world. The decrees of the ancient prophets that all believers must show kindness and charity, for example, has come to be interpreted as a justification for a planned economy where wealth is shared. Many Radeons outside of Sanctuarium used to scoff at the alleged worldliness of their Milky Way cousins, but the city world's people are actually no less devout than their fellow Spodists - it is just that their belief system is different and is expressed differently.
Historically, Theorationalist beliefs also caused a number of conflicts with the official clergy of Vendespode and the Clericarchs themselves, whose divine right they rejected. However, over the millenia the more radical of the heretics have been weaned off and by the time of Telfar's rule, the religious communities of Sanctuarium had come to accept Vendespode as their formal spiritual liege, while retaining their key beliefs. The formation of the Divinarium, ruled by one of their own, has further cemented the loyalty of the Theorationalists to the Clericarch, even though many Sanctuarian preachers have proclaimed it blasphemous that one of their creed now sits on the throne of their former oppressors.
The anti-authoritarian nature of Theorationalism means that, though Sanctuarium's government is quite oppressive, its citizens are still allowed freedom of religion. Vendespodian Masaari, the Tigris Cults, Pazumiri Spodism, and even some non-Spodist religions have worshippers on the city world and are free to proselytise as long as they do not cross paths with the state. Within Theorationalism itself, multiple sects are allowed, many of them as ancient as the moon itself but some of them only a century or two old. The greatest points of contention are the interpretation and application of divine law, whether more complex rituals and ceremonies are allowed or forbidden as idolatry, and, finally, how the supernatural elements of the Scrolls of Faith should be explained. Some sects interpret such events as, say, the rebirth of prophet Alkhear in a maelstrom of purple light, or how Divine Shemaphis brought forth a comet upon the unbelievers, as mere fiction, while others consider them to be extremely unlikely coincidences. Other, more esoteric sects, theoretise that Radeons were not the first race to realise the inherent unity of all things, and that some foreign force with similar beliefs, acting in the interests of Spode, guided them throughout history. These sects are not very numerous and usually viewed as nothing more than odd new-age cults, though one particular sect, the Eolanai, has risen to prominence in recent times through one of their more famous followers.
“Welcome to the place where wisdom marries arrogance and faith marries logic.”
- - Iovera IX during her term as Magister in the Sanctuarian government
Due to its history, Sanctuarium with its surrounding territories has always enjoyed singificantly more autonomy than other worlds in the Church of Spode and later the Divinarium, including the right to govern itself. Ever since the Splendid Declaration was signed millenia ago, the city world has been ruled without interruption by the same entity: the Directorate of Magisters. No Clericarch, not even Jaharan himself, has ever been bold or powerful enough to interfere in its rule; at the very best, some have managed to bribe the Magisters, or send viceroys to influence, but not outright control, the city world's affairs.
The Directorate itself is actually somewhat unique amongst Radeon governments in that, while still theocratic in its core, it is actually a republican institution. It has been described by human politologists as a mixture of theocracy, technocracy, corporatocracy, and democracy (and probably a few other -ocracies added for a good measure). However, it would actually be best to compare it to an overgrown university council, spread across the entire world. The four Magisters that constitute the Directorate are elected every 64 years by the moon's adult population, via electronic voting. However, only the select few are actually accepted as candidates for the elections: specifically, those possessing the highest degrees in the appropriate spheres of study. The seats of the four magisters are permamently assigned for the four sublime crafts, and are independent from one another; thus, four independent elections are held consecutively over the election year.
The positions in the Directorate are:
- Magister of Theosophy, the primus inter pares of the Directorate and the nominal head of state of Sanctuarium; also bears the title of Exarch of the Milky Way in the official Divinarian clergy. Outside of matters of theology and philosophy (or rather because of them), the Magister of Theosophy wields authority over the matters of law and order, making sure that the world's legal system is within Spodist morality.
- Magister of Economy, arguably the second most important role, providing the economical foresight on the inner economic affairs of Sanctuarium, as well as organising its trade relationships with neighbouring worlds. Historically, the Magister of Economy also managed foreign relationships of the independent Sanctuarium; following the Schism, they regained that role once again.
- Magister of Arts, managing and censoring artistic expression in the city world and distributing propaganda. The Magister of Arts, in order to be eligible for elections, must not only have appropriate education but also be critically acclaimed and relatively well known on the moon, but can work in any artistic medium. More often than not, Magisters of Arts are holodirectors or visual artists, though there have also been more than a few musicians who were elected into the office, including Eolarsi Sanariel, author of the modern Divinarian anthem, as well as one fairly eccentric, but surprisingly brilliant game designer, who famously died working on his legendary Project Three, which is rumoured to have been some sort of surveillance program.
- Magister of Sciences, typically elected amongst promising (but not to promising, so as not to rob the academies of Sanctuarium of its most brilliant minds) researchers whose scientific insight on new industries would be invaluable for the progressing city world. Much like Magisters of Arts, Magisters of Sciences may come from different areas of study, but most are physicists.
In the early days of Sanctuarium, the Directorate of Magisters was a governing council like any other; decisions were either made via internal voting or relegated to the appropriate Magister. However, since the 4th century AD, this system was replaced, by the advice of Magister Espothari Alanaim, by the Absolute Communion: a neurotechnical machine implanted in the very iron core of Sanctuarium that links the minds of the four Magisters into a single whole, amplifying and strengthening them all the while - the ultimate expression of Spodist ideals of unity merged with Sanctuarian efficiency. As such, the Directorate now essentially acts as a single person, achieving consensus within nanoseconds.
The rule of the Magisters is, de facto, absolute. It is enforced by the will of the massive government apparatus, by countless surveillance cameras spread throughout the city world's hallways and streets, by the talented propaganda machine. Though there are, in theory, institutions that were originally meant to limit the power of the Directorate, such as the Public Council, these have lost power over time and are now little more than rubber-stamp offices parroting the Magisters' decrees. The only real consolation for Sanctuarians is that, rather than there being a single absolute ruler, there are several, and the common people can always trust that least one will mean well for them.
Sanctuarium is, without doubt, the most populous world in the Divinarium and one of the most populous worlds in the Milky Way, harbouring no less than 50 billion inhabitants, citizens or otherwise. This makes the moon vital to the entire Holy Empire, as the city world's migrants are the key source of fresh blood for its sparsely populated colonies. At the same time, the skilled workers from the city world are also valued greatly in nations neighbouring Sanctuarium, such as the Delpha Coalition of Planets. These two factors cause thousands of Sanctuarians to leave the moon for economic opportunities: some return home with the wealth of foreign worlds, but many never do. Meanwhile, Sanctuarium's own wealth attracts, in turn, migrants from elsewhere, usually humans, who bring into the city world their own traditions and culture. The upper circles of the city world are highly concerned about this double flow of immigrants and emigrants, seeing it as a threat to their way of life. As such, Sanctuarium's government has instituted numerous policies persuading those who have left the moon to return and those who have migrated to either integrate into the city world's society or face persecution.
Sanctuarium's small size means that its gigantic population is rather tightly packed. Even with the selenopolis' vast underground complices extending almost to the moon's core, space not occupied by industry is scarce; as such, personal habitation is almost unheard of and even the more privileged citizens usually reside in communal dormitories, known as cenobia, provided by the government. Though new citizens would find such conditions hellish, those native to the moon treasure their cenobia and would never dream of sacrificing their camaraderie for the solitude of personal habitations. Many Sanctuarians will never see sunlight in their entire lives, and will in fact avoid it even offworld; almost every wealthy Sanctuarian family owns a parasol for this exact occasion. Those who do not possess Sanctuarian citizenship, either recent migrants or those who have lost it somehow, usually reside in the ramshackle favelas constructed in the upper hives, or in the selenopolis's many abandoned tunnels.
Though, ultimately, only two taxonomical geni are populous enough to matter on Sanctuarium - the spodea of Vendespode and the homo of Earth - the moon's population is surprisingly diverse.
Sanctuarium is traditionally considered to be one of the five Radeon Heartworlds: worlds with significant and ancient Radeon populations that hold great cultural and religious influence for their species. The heart of the selenopolis are the Old Sanctuarians: descendants of those Theorationalist Radeon heretics who had originally settled it. They constitute around half of the population and are, on average, the most educated and privileged ethnic group on Sanctuarium. They are notable for their tall stature and delicate physiques, results of millenia-old adaptation to the moon's low gravity. As such, the Old Sanctuarians shun the outside world and prefer not to set foot on other planets unless it is necessary for business. A significant part of the moon's Radeon population population also comes from other Radeon worlds in the Milky Way, that were over time ceded to the human states. They are generally seen as kin by the Old Sanctuarians due to their shared Theorationalist religion, though also considered to be less business-minded and hard-working. Both are characterised by their dark brown coats.
There are also numerous Radeon diasporas which come from elsewhere, particularly from Endless Space territories around Vendespode, that do not espouse Theorationalism. While ancient, they truly became significant after the War of Ages when the refugees from destroyed Church worlds flooded Sanctuarium as the last remaining citadel of Radeon civilisation. Due to their different religious practices, they tended to stay away from the rest of the population, having their own places of worship and their own dormitories. Their presence was rather unpopular amongst the world's traditional inhabitants, and as such most of these refugees eventually left to the Andromeda Galaxy to populate the newly founded Divinarium, though many still continue to live on Sanctuarium.
Technically, the history of human population on Sanctuarium predates its settlement by Radeons. The near-human Nebi-Mu, today found all over the Orion Spur, had originated there: how exactly their race came to be is unclear, but their blue, metallic frame and immense height still remain as reminders of their original homeworld's low gravity and high radiation levels. However, due to the Nebi-Mu's nomadic nature, as well as Sanctuarium's extensive colonisation by Radeon settlers, few of them remain on their original homeworld, and are now largely dispersed over human worlds. Those who still inhabit Sanctuarium have largely integrated into Radeon culture and often occupy important roles in society, though still seeking to preserve their traditional way of life.
Far more important to Sanctuarian culture and politics are the homo sapiens sapiens from Earth and its colonies, which began migrating to Sanctuarium a few centuries ago. The migrant flow has been quite steady since then, and humans eventually grew to compose one tenth of the moon's entire population. Though coming from different cultures and nations, their old identities have blended together over time, and nowadays all Sanctuarium humans refer to themselves as Earthlings - even though most of them have never actually set foot on Earth, or any world other than Sanctuarium for that matter.
Earthling culture is a mixture of both human and Radeon traditions. Though there are some who cling to traditional religions of Earth or are atheist, most Earthlings are Spodists, mostly due to Sanctuarium's active integration policy including proselytism. However, Spodism as professed by humans is influenced greatly by their ancestral beliefs: for example, it is quite common in Earthling temples to see Spode portrayed not abstractly, like it is traditionally done in Radeon religious art, but in humanoid form, usually as an old, bald human with one eye bearing a staff. It is also common amongst humans to refer to Spode with male pronouns, as opposed to Radeons who use either the neutral "it" or, rarely, "she". Such syncretism, however, is seen with prejudice both by Radeons and the more devout human converts, and many Earthling Spodist communities, especially Theorationalists, seek to bring their rites closer to the Radeon standard. Much more of human culture is preserved in their cuisine, which still includes traditional meals from Earth, their languages, and their more liberal attitude towards sex and romance. However, Radeon-human relationships on Sanctuarium are still quite rare (reportedly due to physical incompatibilities), and marriages even more so.
The relationship between Radeons and humans on Sanctuarium is somewhat polarising. At first, the government on Sanctuarium welcomed human immigration, seeing them as good potential workers. A human could run three times longer than a Radeon without getting tired, weather cold that would incapacitate one, and carry one and a half times more weight. However, when the human states grew to gain more political power, and began to slowly but steadily expand in the Orion Spur, the Radeon view of humans changed. It became more common to see Earthlings as too lazy, too individualistic, and unable to integrate into Sanctuarian culture due to their innate aggression - and as such, dangerous. This prejudice reached its apex during the Jaharani Crusades, where many humans were, by the Clericarch's decree, deported from Sanctuarium or sent into concentration camps. Following the fall of Jaharan's regime, the Radeon-human relationships began to stabilise, but the recent conflicts and the rise of such human superpowers as the Allied Terran Republic and the French Empire caused racial tensions to spike again. With new human empires coming to the forefront, the loyalty of the Earthlings is now put into question. As such, many Sanctuarian humans now seek to show and emphasise their allegiance to the city world: officials organise parades and rallies in support of the Clericarch, workers display Divinarian flags in dormitories and factories, and public speakers now prefer to speak Radessic in public as opposed to the human languages.
Originally, Sanctuarium's geography resembled its neighbour, Earth, accounting of course for its smaller size and gravity. However, since tectonic processes had stopped on the moon countless years ago, and since Alpha Centauri is a binary system, Sanctaurium was in general hotter, flatter and more arid. Most of the moon's three continents was occupied by vast plains, varying from hot tropical velds and savannahs to northern grasslands and ice deserts, with the occasional forest or shrubland. It was a rarity to encounter even a small hill when travelling. However, those few mountain ranges that Sanctuarium had, formed by volcanic activity and shaped by the moon's fierce razor winds, were grander than anything seen on Earth. With weaker gravity not stifling the growth of rock, the so-called Spires of Sanctuarium came to grow to enormous heights, often in unusual, almost organic shapes that could never be formed on larger worlds. These great volcanoes were sacred to ancient Nebi-Mu; with the spread of Masaari, many of them became associated with various saints and turned into places of pilgrimage.
The growth of industry, however, has swept away Sanctuarium's natural beauty over millenia, turning it into a world of metal and glass - a selenopolis. The spires of rock were replaced by the spires of temples and foundries. Most of the moon is now covered in large hexagonal city blocks, each housing thousands of factories and millions of citizens. Each hexagon is vertical in its organisation. The pinnacle of a block, reaching for the atmosphere and exposed to the twin suns, is covered in solar panels and hydroponic farms. Closer to the surface are the less important industries manned by non-qualified workers, most of them young Radeons off to prove their worth to the community, or humans. Deeper sections of the blocks are inhabited by more respected Sanctuarians and house factories and facilities that are key to the world's economy, while the Directorate itself are said to reside in Sanctuarium's very iron core. This vast system of underground complices is held together by a system of tunnels, underground high-speed trains, and wormhole gateways -a transit network so complex that a specific caste of scholars exists to guide Sanctuarians across it.
- Official Designation - District 000
- Produce - Laws
Unlike Earth or other similar planets, the core of Sanctuarium is not an overheated mass of molten metal. Tectonic processes on the moon have stopped millenia before Radeons even discovered it, and the center of the planet has long since cooled down, leaving behind a cold, solid orb of iron and nickel. This allowed Sanctuarians to freely harvest resources from the innards of the moon, without fear of volcanic eruptions: the core began to be hollowed and its metals brought to the surface. However, as strip-mining continued, it was found that harvesting core metals had an adverse effect on the moon's gravity and magnetic field: it turned out eventually that if more metal was extracted, the entire planet could become irrevocably irradiated or worse.
Thus began the construction of the Core Complex, created both as a headquarters for the government and a way to stabilise the planet's gravity and magnetic field. Much of the same metal that Sanctuarians harvested from the core was brought back into it, but now in form of buildings, machines and vehicles; their collective mass, as well as the complex gyroscopic systems implanted in the core, maintain stable gravity all over the moon. Due to the sheer importance of the Complex not only to the Sanctuarian state, but also to the existence of the world itself, access to it is strictly forbidden for the common public: only a handful of most important government officials are allowed to reside there permanently. At the very center of the complex, suspended in zero gravity, lies the residence of the Magisters themselves, where their minds are connected into a single entity.
- Official Designation - District F-01
- Produce - Services
Built around the original place of Radeon settlement on Sanctuarium, the two Nesechai districts are among the few surface areas on Sanctuarium that are not covered completely by solar panels or hydroponic farms. The eastern part of Nesechai, located near the ocean and with large amounts of natural resources underwater, urbanised at a very fast pace, having already been covered by bustling cities in the first few centuries of the world's settlement, and it was from its vast aglomerations that the transformation of Sanctuarium into a selenopolis began. The district was, before the 24th century, the heart of Sanctuarium's entire society: it housed the Directorate of Magisters, was responsible for a great deal of the planet's entire industrial produce, and was a major trading hub. However, the devastating aftermath of the Jaharani Crusades caused the government to relocate deeper into the safer parts of the planet, along with most important industries.
However, new life has been given to East Nesechai by foreign investments: following the war, the Magisters transformed the district into a free area, giving both offworlders and Sanctuarians a carte blanche to conduct whatever business they so desired. Now East Nesechai is no longer a galactic factory, but rather a galactic economic center, providing banking, financial and legal services to customers from all over the Milky Way, as well as serving as a market to sell the underground districts' products. The great blocky skyscrapers of the district, jutting from the black and gold metal surface of the selenopolis, are amongst the most well known symbols of Sanctuarium, and it is there that a foreigner visiting the city world is most likely to stay.
- Official Designation - District ???
- Produce - Unknown
Perhaps one of the more mysterious areas of Sanctuarium, the government officially denies the existence of the Metrozone, even though all but the most patriotic of Sanctuarians could swear that it is as real as themselves. Supposedly built on the ruins of a destroyed rapid transit line, the Metrozone is said to be the only place on the city world that the prying eyes of the Magisters cannot reach. It is there, it is said, that those abandoned by fate flock into: criminals, dissidents, vagrants - everyone who have nowhere else to go to. Urban legends claim that people there live in homes constructed from salvaged remains of trains, feed off the mushrooms grown in smuggled enriched soil, and tame Sanctuarim's giant rats to serve as their partners-in-crime. Every night, the Metrozone's denizens descend into the outer districts to steal or to racket citizens; each stalker takes most of the loot for themselves, but is also honour-bound to give one tenth to their mysterious leader, the Queen of the Tunnels. The Metrozone is often blamed for the disappearances of citizens in Sanctuarium and shortages of machinery on factories.
Though some would claim the Metrozone is nothing but an urban legend, the long history of the city world, as well as its vast rapid transit work, mean that, even if not all legends about it are true, there is probably an abandoned station somewhere that is occupied by criminals and the homeless. Perhaps the original legend of the Metrozone drove the disenfranchised to actually make it reality, giving them hope that there were some places where they could hide from the omnipresent law, and prompted them to take refuge in these abandoned stations. Thus, there are likely several Metrozones on Sanctuarium: whether they are actually connected is unknown.
- Official Designation - District 009
- Produce - Tourism
Whereas the eastern parts of Nesechai were dominated by industry, the west of the region, devoid of any important resources, was instead an agricultural area, providing its neighbour with foodstuffs, wood, and fabric. Much like its eastern comrade, West Nesechai was spared during the transformation of the moon into a selenopolis, but for different reasons. As one of the most important historical sites for the world's denizens, it holds great cultural and religious significance: it was there that most of Sanctuarium's founding fathers were born and it was there that the Theorationalist heretics first found refuge. Also of importance is the presence of the Nebi-Mu on the region, who too believe Nesechai to be sacred; many of their most ancient dolmens and temples are located there.
As such, rather than being turned into another hydroponic farm or a factory complex, West Nesechai instead became an important place of tourism and pilgrimage, where visitors can see what Sanctuarium was before it was transformed into a world of metal and plastic. The district is dotted by historical landmarks: ancient ruins, temples, chapels, monuments. In museums and cultural centers, one can see reconstructed Radeon settler and Nebi-Mu homes and taste their traditional meals, while parks and conservation areas show glistening red-gold forests and steppes that once covered most of the moon. Every Sanctuarian is bound by tradition to visit West Nesechai at least once in their life; for many, it will be the only time they will ever see the sky.
Sanctuarium's vast population and massive industrial complex make it one of the largest economic centers in the Milky Way Galaxy, on par with giants like Mirenton or Paris. This great wealth is earned through multiple means. The selenopolis is home to a sprawling financial industry, with the government providing both interest-free (for internal affairs) and conventional banking services, as well as insurance, accounting and stock brokerage. Owing to its religious importance, Sanctuarium also benefits greatly from tourism and pilgrimage; significant amounts of profits are also made via repatriated migrants, who bring wealth and skills from foreign nations to the city world. Finally, though not comparable with the products of major cultural centers like Praestol in Andromeda or Terrae in the Milky Way, Sanctuarian mass media - especially their holodramas and literature - also provide their share of profits to the selenopolis.
However, the most important export of Sanctuarium, and the only business that its people consider to be honest, is its industrial production. More than half of the moon's explored volume is covered by industrial sites, and around the same percentage of its population mans them. Even though the days when Radeons had to toil in factories and mills themselves is now gone, and advanced AIs and robots fulfull the need for manual labour instead, the work ethic of the old age, and the honour of being a factory worker, remains. Sanctuarium's largest industrial exports are electronics, robotechnics and vehicles, as well as construction services. Some production lines are also leased to foreign empires, and the world's upper sectors, where less privileged workers serve, are also a common place for outsourcing. The selenopolis in turn imports raw materials and luxury goods from nearby worlds. The biggest economic partners of Sanctuarium are of course its Andromedan metropole as well as its closest neighbours: the Allied Terran Republic, the Delpha Coalition of Planets, the French Empire and former Human Superstate nations.
Sanctuarium is, like most worlds in the Divinarium, a command economy: private property is severely limited and production is governed through five-year plans issued by the Magister of Economics. However, there are certain areas on the city world, most of them on the moon's surface, where free enterprise is allowed: they are dominated mostly by foreign investors from nearby states, though the more shrewd locals - most of them humans - play a large role as well. It is there that Sanctuarium's financial services are typically given. While not using any internal currency, Sanctuarium's government also mints money of its own for these free areas, as well as for foreign transactions, known as fixed exchange rate to whatever medium of exchange is dominant at the time in the Orion Spur. As of 2810, the qashai is pegged to the franc by an exchange rate of one to sixty four., often shortened to qashai, but known to humans simply as cash or rat cash. The qashai is, however, not an independent currency, but is bound by
“I have ventured into the Nexus, the galaxy of blood-red stars and worlds where spaceships rusted and life withered away. I have fought on the battlefields of Tigris, where void flowed like water in rivers and unnatural darkness enveloped every single shadow. I have faced the undead swarms of the Tabescere and their rotting domains of filth, pus and bile. I have been to the Inferno Realm itself, have tasted its burning air and gazed upon its nightmarish landscape. And yet - throughout my entire life, I have never encountered a place just as vile as Sanctuarium. Cold, mechanical, soulless - and all that under the pretense of piety. If Spode really is the universal machine that they imagine it as, then I would rather fight for the Xhodocto to dismantle it.”
“Home. Perhaps not the best place in the world, but it has its charm. The metal walls, the cozy monasteries, the warmth of your comrade's body as you sleep together with your team. Whenever I look at Sanctuarium, I remember from where I began, and as the memories engulf me, I am humbled.”
“O Deianthil... O Deianthill... O Deianthil, hail, thee, mother of the pious faithful, o Deianthil, hail, thee, freedom's home and justice's cradle...”
- - Venoriel reciting the Sanctuarian anthem
“Never been there. But the way mother spoke of it, how reverent she was - it probably sucks.”
“There were few gems in Drakonmi Terevus in the golden days of the Khaxvis dynasty. Between the Kicath and the firstborn of Arda, the dynasts of the Sanctuaran Republic were a civilizing light in the galaxy. A place that made the inhabitants of that dynasty comfortable that Drakonmi Terevus was just as beautiful as illuminating as Dranvamus has long been.”
- - Anean Ventoric, Milky Way historian
“I visited Sanctuarum several times both before and after my ascension. It's plutocrats are enigmatic and refined, it's labourers are hardworking, and whatever bounty Drakonmi Terevus had, could be bought in its markets. It is to it's galaxy, what Araveene has been to the Imperium. A hub where the galaxy mixes its many fruits into one hearty meal.”
“A place that signals the pride and horrors the Radeon overcame. A testiment of its might, glory and holiness!”
- Sanctuarium boasts a surprisingly diverse ecosystem for a selenopolis, comrpised both of native animals adapted to their homeworld's new state and various pests brought by Radeons and humans from their worlds. Particularily common are simple Terran rats, some of which had grown under Sanctuarium's radiation and in its low gravity to gigantic sizes. Some Sanctuarian Radeons, such as Iovera find rats terrifying, but many find them cute and take them as pets. Normal-sized rats are almost as common as pets on Sanctuarium as Iolestin, while giant rats are said to prowl the abandoned sectors of the rapid transit system.
- Sanctuarium's social and geographic structure, where the upper classes live deep underground where gravity is lower, means that it is very easy to determine a Sanctuarian's upbringing and ancestry. The elites, especially those who have retained their high status for generations, are taller and much more slender than the (comparatively) short and stout common folk. It can be seen in members of ancient Radeon families, such as Mieo Venoriel. However, their descendants who end up growing in more normal conditions, such as Thessina Venoriel, often suffer from skeletal problems, and are usually very short.
- Sanctuarium's seal, whose design can be traced back to the Orion Revolution, is actually a stylised depiction of four merchant scales circling the Eye of Spode, symbolising the joint just rule of the Four Magisters tempered by religion. Other symbols were popular throughout history, including various depictions of the Scrolls of Faith and humans and Radeons shaking hands.
- The most common dress in Sanctuarium, dispensed by the government, consists of simple brown-painted denim suits with short skirt-like sheets of fabric at the hips. Plates of harder plastic may be added on the suit to indicate status or for the sake of safety if need be.
- It was on Sanctuarium that the Divinarium's famous robot industry began. Even to this day, most of the planet's police forces are synthetic: those who are actual flesh and blood are mostly specialised agents who are used to quietly quell dissent if need be.
Out of universeEdit
- Sanctuarium was based largely on theImperios's perception of early United States of America. Other inspirations include Stagnation-era Soviet Union, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and China. Amongst its fictional inspirations, the most important one is Skavenblight, the underground city from Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
- Sanctuarium has also largely absorbed the 2012-2015 characterisations of Radeons as a very collectivist people under a totalitarian government with a utilitarian religious ideology. In this light, it is also inspired somewhat by Yevgeny Zamyatin's technocratic dystopia, We.
- Sanctuarium was originally invented in 2010, mostly out of theImperios's hatred for James Cameron's Avatar. Because of this, Sanctuarium's location (a satellite of a large gas giant orbiting Alpha Centauri) mirrors Pandora, and its natives, the Nebi-Mu, are loosely based on the Na'vi - except that Sanctuarium is an industrial wasteland.
- Sanctuarium is the first planet page for the Fiction Universe that theImperios has ever truly completed in his 8 years spent on the wiki.
- Sanctuarium was the featured fiction of July 2016.