But that's going forward. Let's finish the very last of the planets that are actually based on a STAR WARS REMIXED prototype first, shall we? Phovos Mal is not going to feature in this region, and I didn't really write very much about it anyway; just the following small paragraph, so I think I'll skip it entirely.
The capital of the Empire is the ancient capital of Phovos Mal. In general, Phovos Mal can be seen as a darker and much more militarized mirror of Capital Publius. The Emperor himself maintains a strict policy of secrecy—nobody sees his face, or knows his name, and only the Council of Arch-Heretics communicate with him directly. The entire planet has the feel of a mobilized military base with attached hangers-on, and the fear of secret police runs rife through the populace.That means, of course, that the last planet I need to do before I can turn to actually mapping this stuff out, is Thanatos. I actually think I'm going to evolve this a bit from where I had it, where it was little more than a archaeological site with a few smuggler and cult havens, into something a little bit more substantial that will be more like Leigh Brackett's Mars with some Lovecraftiana and the medieval Crusader states mixed in, but let's start with what I wrote the first time around.
|The palace of Kar Tanus VII|
While an important planet to the Shadow Knights for historical, archaeological and cultural reasons, in reality there is little on the planet to tempt the Seraean cult today, and they maintain it more as a curiosity than for any other reason. Many Shadow knights make pilgrimages to the planet as part of their training, but few remain. The ruins that once dominated the Valley of the Alien Kings are mostly stripped clean of any artifacts of interest or note, and many of the ruins toppled or defaced.
The Seraean tolerate a few unusual features about Thanatos, however. Several pirate and smuggler operations are here, known to the Empire, but not molested. The inhabitants of these enclaves are particularly vicious and paranoid, as might be expected, since few of them know of the official tolerance for their activity, and they feel that they may be rooted out by feared Shadow Knights and their black-garbed troopers at any time if discovered. In truth, it's not clear what the Empire tolerates them for, although it may be as simple as the fact that the harshly competitive meritocracy of this environment has been a good source of potential recruits for them; psionically gifted pirates are trained as apprentice Knights, and those who are not become highly skilled agents-provocateurs, often drafted into dangerous yet important missions on behalf of the Empire.
The Seraeans also tolerate several villages of Old Ones on Thanatos, including some of the most important and centralized points of the cult. While the Shadow Knight cult and the Old Ones cult have usually enjoyed friendly relations, it is not clear why this particular tolerance is allowed on what is a site important to the Shadow cult's heritage. It is observable, however, that the Old Ones cult on Thanatos has gradually migrated more and more into being one that resembles the ancient Shadow cult itself. It is believed by a very few who are aware of this phenomena that this tolerance may actually be part of a long-term conspiracy to draw the Old Ones cult directly into the Shadow cult itself and merge the two. The whispering of the Alien Kings and the ghosts—rather real or imagined—of past Shadow Lords who still wander the blasted badlands of Thanatos may be instrumental in bringing this to pass.System: Thanatos
Hex Location: 0733
Star Type: Double star G4 V, M8 V (distant)
Number of Worlds: 12 (7/5)
Gas Giants: 7 (4/3)
Planetoid Belt: Comet belt and asteroid belt (2 each)
Starport Type: A
World Size: Earth-sized
Atmosphere Type: Earth-like
Surface Water: 20% ("surface" being a misnomer; most of it is in the crust in shallow aquifers rather than actually on the surface itself.)
Population: Medium (800 million)
Political Affiliation: Seraean Empire, Shadow Knights
Notes: Thanatos is the capital of the Outremer region—occasionally known more formally as the Civitas Ordenis Umraci. Established as conquests by Shadow Knight Lords, they are semi-independent of the Seraean Empire; Shadow Knight Lords who desired greater autonomy and freedom, and went crusading to liberate and pacify regions that were formerly important to their Order for religious or political reasons, but which had fallen from control of the Empire prior to even the Slave Wars ghastly resolution. I say capital, but the reality is that the Outremer region is only loosely confederated, and the various Lords who rule their fiefdoms are somewhat fractious and unruly. Rather, Thanatos claims to be the capital, and it is probably the most important. Lord Kar Tanus VII is the most important figure in the Outremer systems, but his actual rule is limited to the Thanatos system itself.
In theory, of course, Kar Tanus is a vassal of the Empire, but in pragmatic day to day terms, he's so far from Phovos Mal, and its influence is weak enough, that he operates independently for all practical purposes, and only invokes his role as the local voice of the Emperor and the Council of Arch-heretics when it suits his purposes, otherwise ruling in his own name and for his own reasons.
|Ancient ruins near the palace.|
Thanatos itself is a cold, red desert—a world that formerly had more warmth and water, but which gradually seems to have lost some of it over time to forces that are mysterious. It is also the supposed home and point of origin of the Shadow Knights cult, which predates the Seraean Empire to which they are now strongly attached. In spite of this, the natives do not seem to be Seraean in ethnicity in any fashion whatsoever, although they are xenohuman. Bronze-skinned and yellow-eyed, with a dusky khaki or olive colored hair, they live in both Bedouin-like nomadic groups, as well as in ancient, moldering Lowlands cities of decadent, ancient civilizations that are long past their prime. Two groups of off-worlders have established modern cities, and effectively rule the planet, ignoring (for the most part) the natives except when employing them as either mercenaries or lower class laborers. These off-worlders are the Shadow Knights and their associated Seraean soldiers and settlers and colonists, and the second group are Old One cults, which maintain a feudal vassalage political relationship with Kar Tanus.
Because Outremer is still a region being pacified, and crusaders pass through frequently, many people coming to Thanatos on the way to somewhere else never actually land on the planet at all. All of the services offered at a type A starport are actually offered in a vast orbital location that floats in space above the planet, built on a small asteroid dragged into position by an ancient warlock and "gravitized" to offer Earth-like gravity in spite of its tiny size (on world, the starports, depending on the city in which you put down, never reach above class B at best.)
|The starport in space above Thanatos.|