From Silence, Wisdom
Languages: Selenian, VulgUr, Common
Government: Meritocratic Dictatorship/Tyranny
Rulers: Ladies/Retinue Stewards
Example Names: Galen Grey, Akana Koe, Bylar Ses, Kara Voss, Aryn Ywir (Selene’s diversity means any name works really…)
Generate Random Selenian Names
- 1 Formation
- 2 Advanced Callings
- 3 Summary
- 4 Description
- 4.1 Politics
- 4.2 Technology
- 4.3 Economy
- 4.4 Religion
- 4.5 Law
- 4.6 Military
- 4.7 Customs and Culture
- 4.8 Gear
- 5 Threshold
Selene can trace its origin to the Urul Imperium where it was the capital of the Sige or Silent faction. Though many of its records were lost during the cataclysm there is enough known about Selene to piece together a general history. At the height of the Imperium the Sige faction, under the leadership of a Council of the Wise, controlled several territories and hundreds of cities throughout the southern scythe, with Selene the cultural nexus for these diverse peoples. At that time Selene, also known as the Domain of the Silent, The Silver Domain, and the Artifice, included territories that have since evolved into the cultures of Victra, Tollam, Southern Ossandria and Nehep. The events of the second era and the fall of the Urul Imperium fractured the Silent, and over the course of four hundred years their territories were shattered into a dozen major factions and numerous smaller freeholds and dominions. It was during the latter portion of the Second Age that control of the capital city of Selene fell to the the Lady, an event which triggered rebellion among numerous settlements beyond the city. Over the course of centuries, by choice and circumstance the territorial holdings of Selene were vastly diminished, with only a few external settlements and only four of the seven Sentry towers retained. Even within the boundaries of the Sentry towers, new factions emerged. No efforts were made to reclaim territory as, by this era, the Lady had settled on a policy of isolation; the only consistent holdings beyond Selene proper were the advanced and hidden military settlements known as the Sentry towers, used to keep the city informed of the actions of the anarchic post-imperium peoples. By the end of this age the city of Selene was the only locus of power for the remaining Sige.
Advanced Callings ∞
Artifex: Mechanists focused on Artilect, clatterjack and Varsits and skilled at the repair, re-purposing, and control of automatons and armour. Jack builders, hackers, and gear pilots.
Sentinel: Elite soldiers and specialists with access to the considerable training and resources of the Silent City. High quality gear, unique support and requisitions, and technologically augmented.
Umbral: Spies, assassins, and saboteurs equipped with some of the most advanced technology of the fourth era. Calculating experts and operators with access to first age wonders.
A city-state led by a line of Ladies, each hand-picked by the last to rule. Selene is geographically small but culturally prominent and known throughout Aeldos as heir to the Old Imperium and a key cultural and trade hub. Selene proper is confined to a massive first age city, the remains of the capital of one of the major factions of the Imperium. This core is surrounded by a later built city known as Threshold. Selenes’ defenses are fierce and nearly impenetrable. In particular, Selene benefits from a contingent of first era machines colloquially known as clatterjacks. Selene is a cosmopolitan trading hub with a culture as rich as any of the more geographically expansive cultures but it is sometimes derisively called a ‘mongrel city’ due to the diverse makeup of its citizenry.
You can see the city of Selene and its smaller sibling Threshold from a great distance across the plains that surround it. Selene is a brilliant gem set into the artificial range of mountains known as Fengyras (Fen-gy-ras), a word which translates roughly as the Moon Bridge Mountains. These sheer stone edifices are pulled up from the land as if by celestial might and the city sits within the tallest peak, its edges curving outwards but its heart carved from the stone itself. Scout towers dot the well paved road to Selene; a mix of first and third age construction used as rally points and beacons to warn Selene of approaching enemies, and as lodging for the Sentries who patrol the area against beast and bandit. The roads to Selene cut through vast idyllic plains that are dotted with small farming settlements and though these farmers are not citizens of Selene in the true sense they live by selling their goods to the city and benefit from the protection of the Sentinels. In times of war these farmers often seek refuge in the lesser city of Threshold.
Selene is unlike any other city in Aeldos; Even from a distance it is obvious that it is enormous and its towering location and sheer rock footing create an impossible obstacle for invaders. Combined with the great walls of impenetrable orick which curve out from the mountain, the numerous first age defenses, and a standing force of highly trained and equipped soldiers, Selene is a prize too costly for any of the great cultures to yet meet.
Selene is considered a paradise by many in Aeldos due to the advanced technology and social benefits provided by citizenship.
- Education: The Lady provides free access to education through the colleges.
- Employment: The Lady provides modestly paying jobs through guilds, factorum, and general labour crews and citizens can join the Sentinels if they meet the requirements.
- Food: The Lady provides a weekly stipend of food is provided to all Selenians to sustain them at no cost.
- Medical Care: The Lady funds access to physicians and surgeons at no cost for all Selenians.
Support: Those who are unable to work due to injury or disability and who are unable to be healed with the ample techology of the city are provided a stipend of support by the generosity of the Lady of Selene.
Selene is governed by the Lady of Selene. Never referred to by name, (indeed the names of the Ladies are kept secret) this structure creates the illusion of an unbroken and eternal rulership. The Lady is in fact a succession of unrelated female rulers, each chosen by their predecessor according to a variety of criteria. The office of Lady is an oddity among governmental structures in Aeldos, for the ladies authority is not derived from the people as with the Luxi, or from strength of arms as with the Mujinese or Ossandrians, or even from blood as with the Nehepi and Victrans. Instead the Lady rules because Selene does not operate without her. The cities most powerful defenses, both the Clatterjack battalions and the great colony of Faeles Ur serve her, and the cities power, waterworks and other first age technologies are tied to her.
Selenian Rules of Succession
- The inheritor must be female.
- The inheritor shall not be of blood relation to the former Lady.
- The inheritor must pass the tests of succession.
- The inheritor must swear true fealty to Selene.
These rules are inviolable and appear to be enforced by the city itself. An inheritor who does not meet the requirements is unable to assume the title; it simply will not pass to the successor. If a Lady of Selene dies without selecting an inheritor the title passes to the youngest female in the city who meets the three requirements.
The Lady maintains a retinue of ‘Lady’s in Waiting’, advisers and potential inheritors of the title. The Retinue acts as stewards for various aspects of the city, overseeing the daily management of districts, guilds, and other features.
The stewards are defended by the Steward’s Guard, elite protectors representative of Selene’s diversity: Sentinels, Umbrals, Clatterjacks, Faeles, and even more exotic entities claim the title.
While the Lady is the ultimate source of power and authority the city rulers have long taken advice from representatives of the major factions and guilds within the city, sometimes referred to as ‘The Pillars’. This includes:
- The Merchant’s Guild: An association of merchants, traders, and caravaner’s who are headquartered in Selene, the Merchant’s Guild is a significant source of income for the city. While not every merchant is required to be a member of the Guild, the guild does oversee contracts and regulation of the cities trade and rogue traders are often disadvantaged due to this. Several major trading companies call Selene home due to the advantages offered by the city; namely the security, general freedom, advanced technology, and location near a crossroads of diverse nations. The Merchant’s Guild manages what sorts of goods are permitted and desired in the city. For example, though there is significant trade in other nations Slaves are not permitted in Selene. Conversely, though it is not generally preferred by the Ladies, the guild has convinced her that a variety of drugs which are banned in other cultures should be permitted in Selene. The Merchant’s Guild coordinates closely with the Sentinels and Sentries to ensure the trade roads are kept clear and that they are free to do business in the city and with the Craftsmens Guild to ensure supply of trade goods.
- The Craftsmen’s Guild: An association of smiths, tinkers, dermisworkers, tailors, and other craftsmen, this guild operates closely with the Merchant’s Guild to provide goods for both trade and local use. At the prompting of the Lady the Craftsmen’s guild sets standardized pricing and polices the quality of its members work. Membership in the guild confers significant benefit in terms of taxation, recognition and trade. Unguilded craftsmen do exist in Selene but they rarely exist for long.
- Gloamworker’s Guild: The guild of farmers consists of both the Gloamfield farmers who till the land within the mountains, and the representatives of the vassal farms that have grown up outside of the city proper.
- The Academy: The scholars and archivists of the Selenian academy, known as Academicians, are dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Selenian knowledge.
- Collegium Artifex: The Artifex are antiquarians, mechanics, jacksmiths, cog-librarians, artifact hunters, and first age technicians who tend to the cities advanced systems and clatterjacks. They wield significant influence in the city simply by being the only ones capable of maintaining the technology within.
- Protacari: A semi-religious order of guards and guardians who operate out of Threshold.
- Regulari: ‘Those who regulate’, or the greater public service of Selene.
- Auditori: The sub-group of Regulari responsible for tax appraisal.
- Fellowship of Surgeons: –
- Justicars: The Justicars are the guard-judges that are responsible for law within Selene. Their mandate is to reveal truths and pursue justice.
- Conclave: The caretakers, cat priests, and Justicars of Selene
Selene possesses the most advanced and reliable energy system in Aeldos providing power for light, heat, cooling, and innumerable other features of the city. The nature of this wonder is cloaked in mystery but at its heart lies the Throma. Located in the lowest levels of the city the Throma is a vast power source. Speculation as to the true nature of the Throma varies from a mundane but potent geothermal reactor tied to some ancient slumbering volcano, to a massive helion crystal unlike any other, to more arcane speculation about occult forces. Only a handful of Selenians have direct access to the device and information regarding it is tightly restricted so the truth remains unclear.
Artilects and Clatterjacks ∞
The most potent defensive and economic advantage Selene maintains is the population of Artilects and Clatterjacks that inhabit the city, capable of endless labour and, when necessary, devastation at the relatively low cost of regular maintenance. These automatons range from minor micro-jacks used as every day servants, to the many Labourjacks that serve the Gloamfields, Trade District, and Factorum of the city, to the Three Sisters, a trio of enormous Warjacks that guard the city gates. Most Selenian Clatterjacks are entirely subservient, motivated by simple Artilects which show no personal will or volition and serve the Lady and the city without comment or complaint. They are overseen by Artifex and Mechanists who keep them maintained and guide their tasks. These simple Clatterjacks are not permitted to leave the city and most cease to function more than a kilometer from the city border.
There are three particular Artilects of note, possessing advanced intelligence and incredible capabilities.
- Intos the Librarian
- Aceso the Surgeon
- Ifanthis the Weaver
In addition to the battlejacks that defend the city and greater artilects listed above, Selene also benefits from emergency services provided by their automaton servants.
- Firejacks: Squat and bulky, but somehow very quick, firejacks carry enormous tanks of fire smothering foam, great axes and hydraulic splitters. The Firejacks only operate in the wooden quarters of the city and Threshold; the more advanced parts of the city are built from fire proof materials with integrated suppression systems maintained by the mechanics guild.
- Medjacks: Few and far between, medjacks are satellite units of Aceso the Surgeon, functional only within a short distance of Selene. Medjacks are equipped with advanced mendikits carrying a variety of gels, tonics, and curatives, as well as scalpels, stitching systems, suturers, antiseptics, antibiotic and painkilling mechanisms. Medjacks are usually small units, between 120 to 180 cm tall and composed of lightweight materials, built for speed. There is 1 “full sized” medjack, “Eathos”, a 3 meter tall machine capable of assisting/moving multiple casualties simultaneously and extracting wounded from combat scenarios while under heavy fire. This specialized jack has four highly articulated arms.
- Repairjacks: Also known as Cannibal Jacks, these specialized units are fitted with every tool required for repairing damaged or broken clatterjacks of any kind or, failing that, their salvage and disassembly. Relatively rare, always in demand, and typically under supervision of a master mechanic, Repairjacks tend to be large, allowing them to manipulate jacks of any size and are equipped with a variety of cutting and welding implements as well as a full suite of general mechanics tools (ratchets, wrenches, screw drivers, etc). They also carry numerous common spare parts such as major joint assemblies, optics suites, ligament and myo skeins, and motivator nodes. These parts are carried in a detachable service case, stocked regularly by mechanists from the guild.
The Library of Cogs: Content to Come
Magna Fabrica [Vast Smithy]: The Library of Cogs houses vast Selenian knowledge, particularly in regards to the Clatterjacks, but the work of the mechanists, the oily labour of maintaining the automotans who serve and protect Selene, occurs in numerous “Ironworks” throughout the city. While most house a small number of working spaces, the Magna Fabrica is a central and vast hall in the lower levels that can support hundreds of Jacks and possesses the unique facilities necessary to maintain the massive and rare Warjacks (e.g. the 3 sisters). The Magna is an enormous building, cavernous and echoing with the sound of metal upon metal. It is filled with complex mechanisms, gantries for housing jacks, warehouses with unique replacement parts and raw materials, foundries, molds, and massive treadhammers and hydraulic presses for forge work. Dozens of repair jacks assist the legion of mechanists required to maintain the Jacks.
Selene has a mixed economy of agriculture, trade, and industry. The city is located at a crossroads between Nehep, Tollam and Ossandria, and while Ossandria does not maintain official trade relations there are numerous Ossandrian merchants who risk the trade embargo placed on Selene by the emperor. Notably Victrans also trade in the city and are constantly seeking to expand their economic influence via industry and banking. This influence has been tightly controlled by harsh taxation and regulation by the Lady via her Regulari. Victran banknotes are worth considerably less than standard currencies.
Faeles Conclave / The Conclave: The Caretakers, priests, and clerics of Selene, manage the Conclave which looks after the spiritual needs of Selenians and their symbiotic population of Faeles. They are devoted servants to the great cats, feeding them, assisting in their grooming, caring for them in sickness, and conveying their wisdom when requested. Conclave priests are often distinguishable by their scars, incidental but significant claw and bite scars caused by tending to or playing with the cats. Though many have been injured the Faeles rarely kill conclave priests and are generally protective and fond of their human companions. The scars are more frequently signs of affection rather than true wounds. As a general rule Selenians are not church going people; their religion takes the form of casual devotions to the Faeles and ritual days with the most devoted developing regular relationships with conclave priests or particular cats. Caretakers are the most devout of Selene, part zookeepers, part veterinarians, part engineers; they care for both the cats and their habitats and are accorded respect by most Selenian’s for doing so. It is widely considered bad form and fortune to be less than hospitable to one. For the most part Caretakers lead lives of devotion, work, and contemplation living in the great colony, a temple to the cats, tending to their needs and the needs of Selene’s people. The Conclave of Selene has many distinct positions, but few as prestigious as Minister of the Void. A title bestowed on the most enlightened as judged by their peers, the Minister of the Void spends most of their days in meditation in the Temple of Night, a rarely visited structure deep within the mountain. A specific sub-faction within the Conclave also act as judges in Selene.
Tenets of the Conclave
- The Faeles are Selenes ‘original’ inhabitants and terrible things tend to befall those who harm one (not the least of which is the wrath of the Faeles)
- Selenian’s may curry favour with the cats in return for good fortune, spiritual blessings, and guardianship against disease.
- The Faeles seem to have some sense of fair trade and individuals who give tribute to the Faeles often receive gifts in return, small gestures typically.
- Respect and Hospitality are paramount. Caretakers of the Conclave are accorded respect by most Selenians and it is considered socially unacceptable to be less than hospitable to one.
It is of note that while the Faeles cannot speak many seem to display an intelligence higher than that of felines from other parts of Aeldos. Some claim they are even capable of writing and symbolic communication.
Decarist Temples: The Conclave is the closest thing to an official religion in Selene but not all Selenians worship the Outsider and its Faeles icons. The Decarist temples represent the religious needs of the rest of Selene. There are several prominent temples within the city devoted to the Ayr but the largest of these, the Great Temple, gives equal prominence to the 9 and special prominence to the Vox. The temple is circular with large chambers each housing a great statue of a given Ayr.
Selene is known to be a well ordered city with well enforced law and general peace among its people. Some attribute this to a variety of factors, from the high levels of education among the populace, universal employment, and robust social safety features. Others attribute this to the zeal with which the city pursues criminal endeavours.
Enforcement of Selenian law is handled by the Sentinels and the Conclave. Conclave officiants known as Justicars act as judges while the Sentinels are the hand of the law. While most crimes are dealt with in a measured manner, there are a few capital crimes of note with dire consequences. Punishment for minor crimes can vary from public shaming and community service to indentured servitude. Punishment for serious crimes are incarceration, expulsion, or exile. Incarceration takes place in the Desmoterion, a prison tower located in the dark beneath the mountain. Expulsion involves the revocation of a citizens token and expulsion from the city itself leaving most to hard lives in Threshold. Those who are exiled are driven out of both Selene and Threshold.
- Treason: Indefinite Incarceration
- Murder: Exile
- Manslaughter: Exile
- Rape: Exile
- Assault: Expulsion
- Theft: Expulsion
- Fraud: Expulsion
Felicide: Special punishment is reserved for anyone killing one of the Faeles; the kindest punishment is execution while more egregious offenders are exiled into the ‘dark below’; a seemingly endless labyrinth of abandoned tunnels deep beneath the city which are stalked by unknown horrors and the Faeles who hunt them.
All punishments must be agreed upon by a triad; two Justicars and one citizen-elect. In particularly serious or notable cases, or where there is no consensus within a triad, the issue is decided upon by the Lady of Selene. The accused is always permitted to defend themselves and public advocates are made available as well.
While the Lady of Selene is the highest commander of Selene’s armed forces, the Archons are responsible for seeing that her will is done. The general term used for the military of Selene is the Sentinels, though this is also a specific rank within the organization itself.
Grand Archon: This singular figure is responsible for the coordination of Selene’s armed forces. The Grand Archon is a title that can only be earned by a lifetime of service in the Sentinels and selection by the Lady of Selene. The Grand Archon’s responsibilities are many, but primarily they advise the Lady on military matters. The current Grand Archon of Selene is Sevasmos Stirling. He has been in the position for 35 years and is now in his late 70’s.
Archons: There are several Archons (or Arcos as they are more commonly referred to distinguish them from the Grand Archon) who report to the Grand Archon. Each Archon is responsible for a facet of Selene’s defense.
Sector Archons, of which there are four, each responsible for the security of a given sector of the city.
- The Palace Archon is responsible for security within the Palace District.
- The Torus Archon is responsible for security in the outer torus of the city.
- The Threshold Archon is responsible for forces which police Threshold.
- The Aegis Archon is responsible for the forces assigned to the posts and walls around Selene as well as those Archons on special assignments that take them further afield; diplomatic guards for example.
Below the Archons there are four ranks of soldier. In order from highest to lowest they are: Sentinel, Sentry, Armsman, and Soldier (Soldus). All are volunteers. Armsman and Soldiers are non-officer ranks and make up the bulk of the forces. Soldiers/Soldus are the rank and file.
- Armsman are equivalent to a Sergeant and are in charge of 7 soldiers in a group called a Unit.
- Sentries can command up to 7 Units (56 people, including Armsmen) formed into a group called a Section
- Sentinels can command up to 7 Sections (399 people including Sentries) formed into a group called a Division. These divisions report to the local archon.
- Sentinel is the highest combat active member of the military. They oversee tactical operations while Archons oversee administrative and strategic matters.
Each Archon can have between 2-7 Divisions under their command. The number of active Sentinels at any given time is not well known, but it is estimated to be between 10,000 and 15,000.
While the above structure is the standard, there is a notable and somewhat common exception that operates outside of this…
Prides: Prides are composed of select members of the Selenian military, usually of Armsman rank or higher, and often entirely Sentinel rank. Pride sizes can vary, but are always less than 7. Command is defined by the Archon in control of the Pride. Prides are assigned to special duties, often far afield of Selene. Their assignments can vary considerably, from protection of important figures such as diplomats, to offensive operations against targeted threats, to scouting first age ruins. Due to the overlap in activities and abilities Prides often include at least one Umbral, usually unknown to the other members of the Pride and sometimes the Archon in charge.
Sentinel Advantages ∞
Training: Sentinels are extensively trained, not just in practical combat and weapons handling but in survival, tactics, strategy, field medicine, non-Selenian culture, stress management, equipment maintenance and a variety of other fields intended to better prepare each Sentinel for the rigors of service beyond the grey walls and in the harsh wilds of Aeldos.
Cohesion: Unit Cohesion is integral to the successful, efficient and enduring operation of a military cadre. Members of cohesive combat units perform better, longer, and suffer less nervous disorders than non-cohesive ones. Accordingly 7 person Selenian Sentinel cadres are assembled by veteran Sentinels to enhance cohesion. These cadres acquire incredible levels of familiarity and comfort working together.
Support: Sentinels are well equipped and deployed in chains of support to ensure that cadres have fallback positions and support units. The Sentinels do not endorse suicide missions and do not abandon living colleagues. Selene has proven willing to go to great lengths for its soldiers, even committing warjacks to outbound recovery missions.
Reward: Sentinels are well rewarded for their service. Every Selenian must serve the city in some capacity, but serving as a Sentinel offers some additional benefits; educational opportunities, lodging, greater than average stipends, enhanced privileges relating to Selenian elections and plebecites. The longer one honourably serves the Sentinels and the greater the rank, the greater the rewards. The upper limit on active soldiering is set at 50 years, but elder Sentinels can serve in many non-direct ways.
Retirement: Anyone who reaches Sentinel rank has the option to retire with honour or continue serving. Terms of service are 7 years.
Unlike Ossandrians and Victrans, no Sentinel is considered expendable. None are fodder for the enemy, and mass attacks are rarely used. Sentinels use mobility, stealth, and coordination to execute debilitating strikes with precision rather than brute force. If faced with a superior force they fall back and utilize harrying tactics. Other cultures, particularly Ossandria, have dubbed Selenian combat tactics cowardly, but the Sentinels justify it by their reputation for victory and the limitations on their force numbers.
Recent Conflicts ∞
The conflict between Selene and Ossandria was last triggered by Selenian intercession in Ossandrian affairs. There was a time when Ossandria and Selene traded and had diplomatic relations but Selene, already blockading all slave trade and severely critical of the religion and politics of Ossandria, triggered a crisis when a group of Selenian Sentinels interceded in a series of Ossandrian raids against allied minor kingdoms and settlements. Rumors suggest that these Sentinels were not under direct orders to act but did so according to their conception of Selenian honour. The results of the conflicts were mixed but the reports of Selenian involvement in concert with general historical trends triggered a violent reaction from Ossandrian nobility who petitioned the Imperator to take action. He did, though some say reluctantly, and set his generals to ‘deal with Selene’. Several legions besieged the city but the result was a brutal defeat as Selene’s first age defenses decimated the Ossandrian forces. Rumors suggest that the Imperator knew this would happen and used it to justify cutting off ties with Selene and as a convenient way to diminish the growing power of his more antagonistic critics (the same generals and Praetors who were sent to do the deed against Selene). The attempted invasion of Selene was 45 years ago, and current Ossandrian propaganda places blame for the act on a ‘rebel’ legate, removing any culpability from the Imperator himself.
Customs and Culture ∞
Most Selenian food is grown in the Gloamfields and spiral towers beneath the city, tiers of robust and fertile land and and greenhouse spires located within the mountain and lit by first age technology. As the land itself is within the city proper and therefore owned by the Lady, the farmers responsible for feeding the city are all employed by the Lady of Selene. Farmers are given a portion of land to grow discretionary crops on for profit or personal use and the rest of their land is assigned crops by the Regulari according to their needs forecasts. The system produces more food than the population can eat and advanced granaries preserve food indefinitely meaning that at any given time there are months or years of food in storage. It is this robust and self-contained internal farming system that makes Selene immune to normal siege tactics.
Selenians eat very little meat, save on special occasions. The reasons for this are practical and ethical; the city has access to artificial meats that are much less energy and resource intensive to grow than traditional meats, has a large population of carnivorous large cats that depopulate natural herds, and there is a common conception of animal consciousness among Selenians.
In addition to a wide variety of grains, pulses, vegetables, fruits, and mushrooms, the following uniquely Selenian foods are grown in the city:
- Chabac: Looks like cabbage in the field and grows with a thin but tough exterior and a meaty interior, Chabac is dense in calories and high in protein, essential fats, and several vitamins with a meaty taste. A core crop and staple food of Selene, Chabac has cooking methods are plentiful and the food takes spice well. Chabac can be chunked and dried for travel but only grows in the gloamfields and attempts to transplant it out of the city always fail. Lorekeepers theorize that Chabac was created to only grow in the resilient soils of the gloam and under the lights of Selene.
- Denkres: A thick meat substance that grows on great mossy lattices in the Denkres Tower, beneath the mountains, there are several strains of Denkres that grow, each seeming to mimic a type of meat. The three most common strains are Denkres-Su which tastes like pig or boar, Denkres-Bo which tastes like cow or auroch, and Denkres-Ga which tastes like fowl or chicken. The names are often abbreviated to Densu, Denbo, and Denga. Less popular variants of Denkres include Denkres-Ce (Deer, Elk, Moose), Denkre-An (Duck) Denkres-Ca (Wolf), Denkres-Pa (Primate). Curiously absent are the wide variety of aberrant creatures of Aeldos, whose meat is considered a delicacy by many outside Selene.
- Dulse: Seaweed that tastes like bacon: Another element of Selenian cuisine, grown in vats in the lower levels of the Denkres tower. Extremely healthy, packed with protein and minerals.
- Morsa: A spicy condiment/sauce made used in a variety of Selenian cooking, Morsa (meaning Bite) was a creation of Threshold adopted by the city and can be found in pantries and on meal counters across Selene. There are several variations with different degrees of heat. A favoured method of introducing visitors to Selene is to ply them with the unexpectedly potent heat of Morsa.
- Venoth: Selenians use the term venoth for hunted food. It is generally seen as less flavorful, filling, and acceptable to native Selenians though many recent immigrants prefer it. Sentinels assigned to outbound duties such as scouting or patrols on the edge of the verge are permitted to hunt.
The city’s water supply comes from two places; the waterfalls which are created by funneled icemelt above the city and the sea beneath the mountain. The former is self-explanatory while the latter is actually treated by a complex device deep within the mountain which desalinizes sea water from the gulf of Selene. This plant works constantly producing vast amounts of both salt and potable water used in the city.
In order to maintain a homeostatic population Selenian’s utilize a system of ‘tokens’. These take two forms; permanent and temporary. A permanent token is a small implant that acts as a passport in and out of the city center and in and out of controlled buildings. Permanent tokens also enable the bearer to purchase property, claim benefits such as food, clothing, education, and medical care, vote in plebescites, and otherwise participate fully in Selenian culture. Permanent tokens convey a Selenian’s rank and role in the city hierarchy to those around them. Permanent tokens cease to operate when the bearer is killed or if it is removed (often the same thing). All permanent token holders are permitted to have 3 guests in the city, but the guests must be accompanied by their host in the city and the host is responsible for any act of a guest. Higher ranking Selenians are permitted additional guest privileges. Anyone found without a token or host are held until their host can be found or immediately expelled from the city if none is found to exist.
Temporary tokens used primarily for Trade, are small coin sized items, crafted by the Artifex to be impossible to counterfeit. These tokens are attached to necklaces or bracelets to enable the wearer temporary day access to the Trade road and Marketplace. Non-resident traders in Selene must wear their token openly. If their token is stolen they are responsible. Because of the value of traders Tokens and the access they grant to a rich clientele, obtaining one can be difficult. A set number of monthly tokens are given out at the start of each month, and weekly tokens are given out at the start of each week. This has led to trade consortiums and wholesalers who aggregate goods from traveling merchants in Threshold and sell them in Selene. These individuals, their pricing, and their activities, are overseen by the Merchant’s Guild.
At the end of each month Sentinels and Regulari patrol the Trade Road verifying tokens. Tokens cannot be taken outside of Selene. They must be turned in to one of the Regulari who man the gates of Selene and must be presented upon request by any official of Selene. Theft of a token is punishable by branding and exile and even carrying another’s token is punishable by imprisonment, and if found to be stolen, branding and exile. Sale of real or counterfeit tokens within Selene is punishable by branding and exile. Losing one’s token and not reporting it immediately is punishable by a fine. If recovery of the token is not possible the Regulari have been known to reissue a token, but only if it is proven that the loss was reasonable. What counts as reasonable is clear only to the Regulari. Non-resident traders who lose their token are removed from the city and banned from obtaining a new token for a period of five years. The punishment for Regulari or city officials found to be taking bribes or violating the will of the Lady in regards to tokens is banding and exile.
A full archive of Token Holders is kept in the central Node of the city, accessible to Sentinels, Regulari, and other administrars via city luminars.
In order to have a child in Selene a family must petition the Hall of Records for a token for the child. Alternately a parent or other figure can transfer their token to the child on birth and voluntarily leave the city. Service in the Selenian military is a way to earn a token but only a small number of applicants are accepted and even fewer pass the required tests.
Tokens are limited in number and tied to the population of the city. A census is undertaken by the Regulari every five years, gathering both token states and additional information to aid the Regulari and the lady in guiding the city.
There is a common rumour among travelers and visitors that the Great Cats of Selene, the Faeles Ur, are attuned to Tokens, and that those who walk the city without one are considered prey.
While some nations are not hostile to them, or may accept certain species, Selene is the only place in Aeldos which readily welcomes all quasi-human species. All are still rare, but none are excluded or classified as sub-human. The only variance is that Heliar are welcome but often treated as subservient as a result of the large population of simple artilects. Most Heliar who do visit the city choose to display their independence by marking or altering their outer shell to distinguish themselves. Heliar visitors report feeling a sense of warmth within the city, and some even report dreaming.
Selenian fashion is as diverse as its population, deriving trends from across Aeldos. A few materials such as Dermik, Dremis, Vam and Metaxi dominate the market though foreign silk, cotton, and leather also find popularity with new Selenians and those living in Threshold.
Selenian’s are some of the most widely traveled people in all Aeldos. But travel does not come without its risks, particularly when venturing into territories controlled by self-proclaimed enemies of the silent city. Ossandrian authorities have been known to harass, hold, torture, and kill Selenians and any Selenian technology carried beyond the gates of the city becomes a target for bandit and border guard alike. Selene does not often intervene in issues arising from private travel; Selenians are cautioned and the risk is their own. But for official travel the Silver City takes any action against it very seriously. Emissaries, diplomats, and Stewards travelling under the banner of the city are protected first by access to the most skilled guards, and second by the fierce reputation of the Umbral and Sentinel orders. Incidents of Ossandrian legates or Victran lords murdering, assaulting or ransoming Selenian officials are not unheard of, but are always met with swift and terrible force. Though Selene is unable to field a substantial force, they rarely need too. A single Umbral assassin can eliminate the entirety of a Victran house and a pride of Sentinels can inflict agonizing and debilitating strikes that can disable an entire legion via hit-and-run attacks. Only the most vain and arrogant of leaders would risk such wrath.
Aphorax: The Selenian ball game of Aphorax is played by teams of 7 in one of the three arenas of Selene. These arenas are configured with a variety of platforms, ramps, obstacles and mechanized structures that make the game considerably more vertical and complicated than its relative,
Ossandrian Harphan, and each arena is configured differently. The ball used in Aphorax is fist sized and made of rubber and can be bounced off the many surfaces of the arena. The goal of the game is to place the ball in one of three ‘goals’ located throughout the arena. Aphorax arenas are walled in with vitrum and spectators can watch the action of the game without interfering with its three dimensional nature. The upper tiers of the arena are also open, allowing the most notable spectators to watch from above. Aphorax is a violent game but there are numerous rules regarding what is considered fair and foul in terms of harm. Aphorax players gain considerable renown and prestige. Teams of players are fielded by most districts of Selene (even Threshold has one). Due to the specialized arena infrastructure required Aphorax is only played in Selene. There are no gender restrictions on Aphorax players.
Sphailoros: Related to Aphorax is the Selenian game called Sphailoros. In this variation the game can be played by Faeles, Humans, or Quasi-humans or a mixture.
Selenian’s utilize a variety of specialist and high tech gear including collapsible spears and folding swords, dermik armour, fitted or folding plate, umbral casters, and unique weapons such as bolos, jittes, and chains. Official armour tends to have feline or outsider motifs and Selenian blades tend to be single-edged and saber like, curved to aid drawing with heavy spines for parrying and blocking blows. Selenian soldiers often utilize broad shields in formation when fighting. Selenian war parties, known as Prides, are often supported by a Battlejack, Faeles Fatalis, or other specialist heavy unit.
Patience in her Shadow
During the latter part of the dark age, while Selene thrived behind its high walls using first age technology, a group of refugees, displaced by wars, famines, and plagues in their homelands encamped the main gate of Selene. While Selene was no stranger to refugees, they had always been too plentiful for the city to fully absorb them and the filters of Selenian immigration policy and time eventually left two distinct groups of problematic refugees on the doorstep of the city: monotheists who worshiped the One and decried Selenian religion and culture and those who wished for relief but refused to abandon their weapons in order to enter. This horde, recognizing the unlikeliness of their entry, became set on finding another way into the city. While Selenian Regulari processed hundreds of refugees each week, the thousands still outside the gate hatched a plan to storm the city.
One cool fall day several thousand armed refugees massed at the main gate to the city. First the Soldier Steward and the Archon of the Sentinels addressed them, calling for calm and reason, but the crowd would not listen. They attacked the guards and were repelled, but not without significant injury. By the time the refugees rallied the Lady of Selene stood atop the gate. It was she who declared that any who wished to enter Selene must be Selenian in heart, that only those who followed the path would be permitted. When the crowd responded with vulgarity and violence she stripped them of their title as refugees, deeming any who would use violence to enter the city an enemy of Selene, releasing the Three Sisters upon them.
The result was a repeat of every other attempt at entering the city by force. Without mercy or conscience the Sisters, Warjacks of Selene, decimated the vastly inferior refugee militia, killing any who wore or held a weapon. The surviving horde scattered, turning to banditry or building ill-fated outposts in the expanse. Those who remained, the minority who chose not to stand with the horde or storm the gate and who would not bear arms against the city, went on to form the outer-city area known as Threshold, patiently waiting for their chance to enter the city.
In the modern age, Threshold receives considerable aid from the Lady of Selene but the caveat is that the Lady approves of the state of Threshold politics. In light of this, the people of Threshold (often referred to as Thresh) are ruled by a council composed of representatives from key guilds including the traders, artisans, and travelers, the guardsmen, and elected councilors. Perhaps the most important figure in Threshold however is the Executor, a figure whose autonomy is maintained both by consensus and the power granted to it by Selenian recognition as the Executor must be approved by the Lady. The Executor is the primary agent of both the council and the Lady of Selene, granted jurisdiction over Threshold matters and tasked with ensuring the security, safety, and orderly operation of the city under the banner of peace and prosperity. The Executor is often a Selenian veteran or at least marked to permit daily entrance to Selene as their work often entails city travel. Executor nomination is done by the council and if possible the retiring executor.
On a day-to-day basis the Executors duties are primarily mediation between the cities competing interests. As such the Executor is granted arbitration privileges to settle disputes. The Executors staff typically number 5-10 and wages are derived from the council’s dues.
Endaren’s Trading House: Often considered the most powerful group on the council. Endaran’s House represents a consortium of specialized trading houses that cater in finished crafts, commodities, and technology/printed works. The house works with guilds, small traders, and individual merchants to establish common principles and ensure healthy competition. Membership offers significant social and practical rewards for accepting the rules set out by the house. Accordingly there are few truly free traders in Threshold. Though there are numerous small trade companies, only three representatives are allowed on the council and only house members can be elected. Competition for councilorship is often intense due to the power, prestige, and influence the position offers. The Name Endaren refers to the originator of the house, Loran Endaren, whose family remains a wealthy and integral part of the endeavour. Today the Endaren’s tend to act more as impartial advisors, and their name carries weight in the hierarchy.
The Guardsmen: The constabulary and defense force of Threshold. Guardsmen are diverse; from former Sentinels who forfeited their marks to mercenaries looking for more stable employment and travelers unlikely to gain entry into Selene proper. Compared to the Sentinels the Guardsmen are poorly equipped and barely organized. The organization struggles with corruption due to the powerful influence of trade in Threshold and the prospect of good coin being made in shady business. By decree of the Lady, the guardsmen of Threshold must defer to the Sentinels of Selene in all matters. While most guardsmen concern themselves with keeping the peace in the taverns and streets of threshold, or moderating the sometimes violent competition between free traders, there is a sub group of Guards known as the Wardens who protect Threshold from more savage threats, patrolling the far fields and forests and hunting the more dangerous game that roams there. The delineation between these Wardens and the Pathfinder Sentinels of Selene largely comes down to their equipment. The guardsmen representative is always the highest ranking member and they are granted a singular advantage over the other members of the council; the power to veto any non-unanimous motion of the council on the basis of safety. This power is a rarely used reminder of the Guardsmen’s core duty to the safety of Threshold and its people. Thresholder’s often refer to Sentinels as Deadbolts, due to their role as door guardians of Selene
Porters Guild: While the Trading houses represent the merchants of Threshold, the Porters Guild represents the labourers who work for those merchants. Drudges who move the goods, cooks who feed the travelers, horse-masters who breed and care for the beasts of burden, huntsmen who aid the survival of the caravans, translators and accountants to communicate and track the deals. Guild membership is not universal but it is common enough that Endaren’s house typically avoids unnecessarily angering the guild.
The Iron Companies: The term Iron Companies is a Threshold colloquialism that refers to a consortium of distinct mercenary companies that protect trade carvavans. While the Guardsmen concern themselves with the safety of Threshold, these mercenaries are typically only concerned with the coin to be made escorting traders on their long and perilous journeys. They are a source of stories and an aspiration to many a young brawler and a short path to coin or which attract men and women of hard demeanours and few scruples. Predictably they often clash with both the Guardsmen and Sentinels. The companies are permitted two representatives on the council.
The Travelers Guild: Cartographers, explorers, and trailblazers that make their living selling secrets, mysteries, and treasures to the rich and curious Selenian academicians who avoid the dangers of the world beyond the wall.