“Ayauku Skyline” © 2016 Johanna Scott-Bennett, used with permission.
 

The Planet Ayauku: an Overview

Pronunciation: eye-AH-koo
Name of the people: myr’na (sing.) / myr’na (pl.); pronunciation “meer-na”

Ayauku is a beautiful planet, with colours so varied and vivid that it makes me wonder how humans could have lived for so long with so little brightness in their lives. As I sit looking out from our home in the Kasaijōka province, the Raijin crackles thunder and lightning across the horizon and I watch the moons make their ways across the sky. There is always a feeling of calm along with the storm; we have weathered it for millennia, and we shall do so for millennia to come.

The mysterious myr’na are the most recent species the Terran Sovereignty has made contact with. They are a spiritual and peaceful people who are close to the Omega. They are blessed with the ability to clear their minds and tap into this power, healing the wounds of themselves and others. They have a relatively long lifespan, around 200–250 years.

Myr’na skin is varying shades of blue or grey and their hair is always light in colour (white, grey or other very light shades). They dress in flowing, elaborate, brightly coloured clothing, adorned with bells and sashes; as they walk there is a soft sound that emanates from them adding to their air of mystery. Their faces are painted with ornate geometric clan markings.

Although the myr’na are able to channel the power of the Omega naturally from birth, the Omega is a dangerous place, filled with unimaginable horrors – if a myr’na loses themselves in their power, they are at risk of being consumed by it. To combat this, myr’na practice pacifism and restraint in all things, but will do their best to protect their friends without harming others. As a result of this, they are very conscious of their personal space. The act of touching another when not healing or without permission is considered extremely offensive.

Myr’na speech and communication continues the theme of pacifism and can appear to non-myr’na as sarcastic or passive-aggressive in the way its inflection is translated. Their body language as well is rarely aggressive, tending towards more subdued postures. However, this quiet, peaceable body language should not be taken as subservience: the myr’na are a proud race who value their extensive history of pacifism almost to the point of snobbishness when confronted by the human race. This is more prevalent in the older myr’na and those from higher-ranking clans.

If a myr’na decides they wish to eschew pacifism and fight, they must give up all but their most innate connection to the Omega for the rest of their lives, lest they become an uncontrollable danger to those around them. When a myr’na takes this oath, they sever their connection to the Omega and then paint their clan markings in red, indicating they will shed both their own blood and the blood of others. Over time, their skin will fade to a paler shade as the Omega leaves them and they may even lose their inhibitions about personal space and touching.

The myr’na claim that they have observed the Terran Sovereignty for some time, but have only recently decided to venture outside their home system. The exact location of their home system is not known by humans, but is rumoured to be some distance from Terran Sovereignty space. The age of the myr’na empire means that it is a race largely stagnant or in decline, but in recent times a cultural rift has formed between the older myr’na, who are set in their ways, and the younger generations, who wish to explore the galaxy beyond their home system and experience what the wider world and other races can offer them.

Myr’na history stretches back many thousands of years before recorded Terran history and the Terran Sovereignty. Minus signs are used in the timeline to indicate dates prior to year 0 of the accepted Terran calendar (Terran common era). Due to the length of myr’na history, many records prior to the fifth century before the Terran common era are approximate.

–45,000: Earliest myr’na settlements dated on Ayauku. No other history is recorded for another 25,000 years, this period being considered the prehistoric era of Ayauku.

–20,000: Approximate beginning of recorded myr’na history. Myr’na refer to this as the point in time when they “became enlightened” after the “dark times”.

–19,000: The Tsubusa clan, renowned craftsmen and architects, are accepted by the Elders of the clans as the greatest among them, and assume responsibility for guiding the planet and the myr’na people through the ages.

–17,000: The myr’na achieve space flight, and efforts are made to colonise the five moons of Ayauku and explore the wider system.

–16,253: The First Great Calamity. Dabbling with the Omega, the heir apparent of the Tsubusa clan releases a great plague upon the moon of Kōriwa, dooming many thousands of myr’na to starvation and sickness. The Tsubusa clan are removed from power shortly afterwards by the overwhelming voice of the myr’na people protesting their irresponsibility. Their palaces are stripped of adornment and wealth, which is distributed amongst the clans. The clan fades into obscurity and poverty. The myr’na return to rule by a Council of Elders.

–15,509: The peacekeeping organisation, the Keisatsu, is formed by the Council of Elders.

–15,502: For the purposes of policing and regulation, Ayauku and its moons are divided into fifteen sectors based on population, each being overseen by a Sabukomandā (Brigadier-General), who is in charge of four rentai (regiments).

–15,000: The Tanaka clan, known for its agricultural prowess, takes control of 70% of the agri-moon, Hisakata, putting the clan at the forefront of politics. The myr’na population swells to over 500 million in the wake of the slow but inexorable boom of agriculture resulting from the settling of the life-supporting moons.

–12,000: The great sauropods of the Ayauku forests, the kitabei, become extinct, having been denied grazing ground by deforestation to make way for agriculture. Resultantly, more conservative ecological measures are taken, and the myr’na population is thereafter limited to 450 million by popular decision among the clan Elders.

–11,496: The Second Great Calamity. A mining accident on the moon Tsukikage shreds a portion of the moon. It leaves the moon in a permanent crescent and kills thousands of myr’na who had found a way to settle there.

–11,250: In the years following the Second Great Calamity, the Akiyama clan, previously relatively unknown, are inundated with wealth as their sought-after holdings in the mountains of Ayauku become the easiest source of minerals and rare gems for several hundred years.

–9031: After creating the first commercial space-liner production agency, the Jisatsu clan work their way into a position of considerable power, managing the shipping, transport routes and fleet capabilities of Ayauku.

–8024: The Shizuka clan found a city in the Kasaijōka region for the production of incense and fabric to meet demands across Ayauku. The clan gains wealth, social status and power.

–6,338: The Third Great Calamity. The sea levels of Ayauku rise by 15 metres over the course of ten years. This is attributed to Tsukikage settling into a closer orbit following the Second Great Calamity, as well as pollution resulting from rising levels of industrialisation.

–6329: The city founded by the Shizuka is flooded, as is much of the Kasaijōka region. The clan moves its base of operations and it is nearly 5,000 years before the region becomes inhabited again, becoming a location for summer homes for the powerful clans. After the third great calamity of their time, the myr’na start to place a higher value on art, music and dance as a way of channelling their peaceful nature. The first of the great universities, Kyōiku, is formed in the Kurohisoka province. With the third great calamity and the sudden interest in the arts, the Kaneko clan begin to rise in power by making good marriages and controlling the educational establishments of the region in which they hold land.

–5,250: Taking advantage of the rising sea levels and the shift in population, the Yukimura clan becomes powerful as they take control of the seas and food sources from hunting and fishing.

–3,536: After a long history of political power, the Jisatsu clan leader is assassinated by an unknown assailant. Vowing oaths of vengeance, the entirety of the main clan swear their oaths and give up their Omega abilities. As a result they are not allowed to sit on the Council of Elders, being seen as lesser to the clans that stayed true to their heritage. From this point on, the main branch of the Jisatsu clan is formed of warriors.

–2295: A minor cult, the Futan (the Burdened), forms around the use of Omega powers and the ability to become a warrior, looking for a way to avoid giving up power while taking the oath of the warrior.

–1294: Allana Yukimusei, commander of the Keisatsu, leads a coup against the Council of Elders, demanding more political representation for the warrior class. She peacefully holds the Council of Elders and the palaces of many of the main clans to ransom in order to achieve this. Her imprisonment and the forswearing of her clan and duties is demanded in return for her brash actions, and she concedes. Members of the Keisatsu are thereafter barred from meetings of the Elders in any capacity, but myr’na warrior Elders are now held equal to their pacifist counterparts in all regards.

–660: The Unspoken Tragedy. A grand public funeral in an Omega sphere ends in catastrophe when political tensions run high and a public official is assassinated in the sphere. The several dozen myr’na in the sphere disappear immediately, transported to an unknown place and time by the Omega. They are never heard from again.

0: Beginning of Terran common era.

23: The minor cult that formed in –2295 gains a foothold amongst the youngest generation of myr’na and begins to rise in prominence. The Elders whisper in dark corners about the dangers of youth. Almost as quickly as the cult rises in popularity, it vanishes.

61: The Fourth Great Calamity. A great meteor, measuring several kilometres across at its widest, smashes into orbiting debris (believed to be remnants of the destroyed part of Tsukikage). The resulting fragments rain down upon Ayauku, devastating towns and cities across the world. Approximately 10 million myr’na lose their lives. The Giron-kan, meeting place of the Council of Elders since time immemorial, is lost in the calamity. Akemi Kaneko, matriarch of the Kaneko Clan, creates refuges and gives support to those who have managed to survive the disaster. Her actions inspire others to follow her lead and ensure that no myr’na is abandoned.

76: After the fourth great calamity, the Council of Elders determines that the leadership of Akemi Kaneko during the disaster warrants the creation of a unified leader. This is determined due to almost unanimous support for her among the clans, with the Shizuka leading a small resistance within the council. They are overruled and she is granted the title of Sugureta – “Excellent one”.

109: The death of Akemi Kaneko is met with great sorrow. Her heir apparent, Mitsuki Kaneko, is denied the position of Sugureta. Controversially, the Jisatsu, having regained a seat on the Council of Elders, raise a candidate, Sugoromo Jisatsu, to the position. Sugoromo is leader of the Keisatsu. This decision is met with outrage, but it is silenced by the public execution of Mitsuki Kaneko. In the years that follow, fear is used to keep the people in line. An estimated 4,000 myr’na that act and speak against the new regime are executed. In the time that would become known as the Hundred Years of Sorrow, wealth and power was once again concentrated within one clan, echoing the Tsubasa clan’s rule of a bygone era.

205: Upon the death of Sugoromo Jisatsu, his clan falls to infighting. The Keisatsu, now under Terono Shizuto, lead a liberation effort against the infighting Jisatsu, reducing their numbers to the 600 children of the clan alone. They are scattered and adopted into many minor clans. Guuri Kaneko is established as the true successor to Akemi Kaneko, and installed as the Sugureta. She commits her life to righting the wrongs of the Jisatsu.

210: With the politics of the world stable once again, the great meeting hall of the Council of Elders, the Giron-kan, is rebuilt for the Elders. It contains great galleries so that non-council members can witness public meetings. It also has lodgings for the Elders of the clans it represents so that the long distances involved in planetary travel are less of an issue.

409: Guuri Kaneko passes away. On her death bed, she disbands the office of the Sugureta, placing power once again with the Council of Elders.

1200: Travel within the nebula is enabled by the development of the Omega abilities required to interface with void-craft piloting arrays, creating a need for a new class among the myr’na people – the Seishin Majo. While there is very little within the Muzukashi nebula other than the Ayauku system, many scout craft sponsored by the various clans begin to undertake extended trips in an effort to map as much of the nebula as possible.

2295: Exploring some of the densest reaches of the Muzukashi nebula, a scout craft, the Mugu no Namida, is discovered floating freely within the space. The only reason for its rediscovery is that its Seishin Majo is still alive. Despite the best efforts of healers, she dies of what is judged to be irreparable mental stress. This area of space is henceforth named the Īe sector, and exploration of it is banned by the Keisatsu.

3440: The Mugu no Namida is once again discovered floating freely near the Īe sector, with a Seishin Majo once again the only living being on the ship. While rumours of this have since descended into urban legends, the Council of Elders’ attempts to quash rumour are successful to a degree.

4961: A scout craft, piloted by an adventurous crew seeking life beyond the nebula, reaches Delmont. The crew observe the hub of activity from afar for some time, not making themselves known to the inhabitants, and take the information back to Ayauku, where they are lauded for their efforts.

4967: After much deliberation, the Elders elect to adopt a policy of observation until it is decided that the myr’na people and Ayauku can stand to gain something from making contact without risk of destruction.

5016: As the war between the Terran Sovereignty and the One Bakkar rages, a myr’na observation vessel narrowly evades a One Bakkar fleet. The system of Ayauku is locked down, with no ships being permitted to exit the encompassing nebula, for fear of discovery.

5750: After seven hundred years of isolation, the Council of Elders decides to lift the block on leaving the nebula. Scouts confirm that the feared conflict is over, and observation of the Terran sovereignty begins once more.

5789: With the blockade lifted, many younger myr’na, excited at the prospect of exploring the galaxy beyond the nebula, begin to petition their Elders for contact with the Terran Sovereignty to be made in order to secure a freer future for the myr’na.

5800: The myr’na contact humanity, seeking to make peace with the Terran Sovereignty. The myr’na are at a turning point in their history, with many young myr’na wanting to explore the galaxy and many older myr’na wishing to stick to their old ways. The myr’na choose to remain secretive about their Omega power.

5834: Myr’na embassies begin to be founded on various planets within the Terran Sovereignty. The first to be founded is the one on Cantiacorum, the ambassadorship of which is given to the Kaneko clan.

5861: Ambassadorship of the myr’na embassy on Durgan is given to the Kaneko clan.

5867: With the exchanges between humanity and the myr’na becoming more frequent, some of the Keisatsu are sent out to other planets, not only to perform bodyguarding duties for the ambassadors and their families but also to exchange skills, ideas and culture. This programme is overseen by a Sabukomandā who is responsible for liaising with the TSA. The success of this exchange leads to it being made a permanent fixture of the Keisatsu.

5869: Ambassadorship of the myr’na embassy on Delmont, located in the upper spires, is given to the Yastaro clan. Although racism remains a common problem for non-human races on Delmont, the embassy increases awareness of myr’na culture on the planet.

5900: The Terran Sovereignty makes a gift of several warships to the myr’na for the defence of Ayauku. The gift is given on the edge of the Segovax Cluster and the humans involved are not allowed to take the ships to Ayauku themselves.

5906: Ambassadorship of the myr’na embassy on Ardheim is given to the Kaneko clan.

5917: Ambassadorship of the myr’na embassy on Marazion V is given to the Akio clan.

5948: The newest generation of myr’na begin to treat all warriors as equals within their society, though in some of the slightly older members of this generation, especially in the higher-ranking myr’na, the older attitudes still remain.

5999: Ambassadorship of the myr’na embassy on Rossi is given to the Shizuka clan

6012: With the re-emergence of the One Bakkar, more myr’na begin to join with the Terran Sovereignty Army to aid their new allies and protect their homeworld from the spread of this destructive force.

While the origins of Ayauku itself are shrouded in mystery, a folk story of how the planet became inhabited is widely told by the myr’na as a creation myth.

The Creation of Yumehito

Before a time any can recall, Ayauku was governed by none. The planet was engulfed by eternal storms, an unending strife of heat, wind and rain. No life could be sustained in such a place, and for that which did, despair was wrought from their instability.

It was at a dawn that a great reckoning took place. The ancestors called unto Ayauku: “We command your endless rage. Be still!” At their word, a dragon leaped forth. Upon earth’s descent, his power flooded the world, calling the storms to calm. He became a knife of kind serenity to balance and preserve. With his reign, peace prospered and shaped the land to hold. He spoke: “Come forth, great soil, bring plants to bud. Bring all animals, of flight, foot and fin, to grace upon this day.” All bore witness to the glory of a world undone, now rightfully formed. However, the world was not without conflict.

This dragon was a creature of ice and snow. His breath would chill, and his paws freeze, plant and water both. The animals, though contented with their peace, could not hope to live through the cold.

The dragon was a kind soul, always seeking to please. He looked upon his lands with sorrowful eyes, a witness to great suffering. He saw soil hard to farm, locked by ice, fish lying frozen in rivers, their treasured lives cut short. He wished to aid, but feared his absence would undo this beauty, drawing chaos forth. In despair, the dragon fled the valleys, ashamed of his inability. “How can I help those I can only harm with my touch?” Venturing forward, to the very peak of the world, the dragon found a land locked in ice. Silence lay eternal, with only the smallest of animals to see, whose breath barely stirred the soil. There, the dragon lay his head to rest, his woe cradled by fallen snow.

A year passed without notice before a tiny life discovered his dormant form: a bird wrapped in brown, insignificant to all, yet filled with kindness. He dug from the snow the great dragon, and in turn, he questioned his touch. “My friend, how is it that you are not lost to the snow?” The bird looked on in perplexity, and spoke of things he had never dreamt. “My Lord, your slumber has given wake to a world of mirth, kindness and beauty. Without your arctic embrace, the cold recedes. Come! Look upon your kingdom once more, for it has long awaited your return.”

Lifting his aching limbs from the snow, the dragon gazed down on the valleys of old. Viridian hues coated his sight with a landscape of rivers, life and prosperity. Looking upon his people, he saw joy and laughter. “I see. I see and accept. My presence is all that is required to keep this glory intact.”

He turned to the bird and proclaimed: “I will sleep, for this place now grows. Only when the earth has brought bounty shall I awaken once more. For the earth, then, will also need its repose.” He turned his back to the world, for he dared not touch what he could only kill; he would keep its colour in his mind and dream of a holy land, a land he so desperately wished for yet would never dare to pursue.

“My Lord, who will rule in your stead?” the bird in brown enquired.

“You, of course, my friend! Without your kindest touch, I may never have known what beauty could bring. I gift you now with my power. Use it well, and see that this land remains ever beautiful in its way.”

The bird was gifted with the likeness of his Lord, so that all who gazed upon him would know his glory, his body now graced with the pure whiteness of his touch. “I will watch over you, my Lord, eternally.” The bird would live in the ice and snow, as the dragon had braved before him, to watch his endless slumber and protect all in his reach.

With that, the dragon returned to the peak overlooking the world, where the cold forever remains, cradling his noble dreams. The dragon is known now as Yumehito, the dreamer. May his sleep be ever peaceful.

We must learn from our great Lord’s sacrifice, in all his noble grace, and know of his willingness to preserve with no thought of his own gain. The seasons change as he does, and as the harvest of autumn is reaped, Yumehito’s icy chill descends. We must be thankful for his work, for without his touch, the soil would run dry of all life. His messengers live to this day in the shape of Korishuku. May their blessings of good fortune shine eternally, for the ones who long to see them.

Myr’na Personality and Philosophy

The myr’na are calm and concise in everything they do, keeping their emotions in check and not revealing their opinions in public, in order to keep up appearances. However, the wayward and adventurous nature of the younger generation means that myr’na joining the Terran Sovereignty Army are often conflicted in how they present themselves to the world, the pull of the traditionally reserved myr’na nature fighting with their desire to explore and fit in with other races.

With their ability to focus the Omega from birth, myr’na have a great respect for power of all kinds and tend not to seek it out; in some cases, such as in that of a myr’na warrior, they shun it completely. This natural power has given them something of a martyr complex, which influences their behaviour and willingness to sacrifice their own happiness for the greater good. The younger generation, with their wish to explore the universe and mix with other species, have been seen by some of the Elders as selfish. After all, there is no power without sacrifice.

Myr’na Omega rituals tend towards an elemental focus, though even in this there is a great deal of variation, with each element being seen as a different expression of the self to understand, command and master. Earth can be malleable or it can be as solid as rock; Water can be calm or it can be fierce; Air can be a soft breeze or a dangerous storm and Fire can be deadly or it can be a warming hearth. The most complex element, and therefore the one viewed as the most dangerous, is that of the soul.

Arranged marriage is a common occurrence in larger communities, as myr’na are expected to honour their family traditions and follow their commands. Powerful unions between myr’na to support their work, their level of control over politics and their clan or family’s status are very important, and young myr’na are taught to accept such arrangements. Most arranged marriages between myr’na are of mutual benefit to both parties, who accept each other almost unconditionally. However, marriage for love is not unknown in myr’na society, and is especially common in the lesser clans.

Myr’na teachings such as these are so ingrained into society that it is rare for a myr’na not to accept them. They come as naturally to the myr’na lifestyle as their Omega abilities.

All myr’na are taught, through traditional values, that they should maintain a careful dignity and quiet form of self-expression and be diplomatic and polite in all areas of their life. These values developed very early in myr’na history to ensure not only that peace is kept between clans but also that the myr’na are a united race free of conflict.

Many younger myr’na, realising the variety and excitement of humans and other races, disapprove of these teachings, seeking to reach out and experience what the rest of the world has to offer them. Because of this, tensions are high between the Elders and the newer generations, and some of the teachings are disregarded or transformed by the younger generations into ideas more appropriate to the new world. The respect all myr’na have for the old ways, however, is still very much present, and most myr’na treat them with the respect they deserve, expecting others to do so in turn.

The myr’na have a profound understanding of their impact on the planet around them. They know what they can take from their world and its moons without exhausting their resources. This has led to a deep respect for nature. One of the core philosophies of the myr’na outlook is the interdependence of all things. All is connected. This connection stretches from the highest Himitsu (Elder) to the lowliest farmer and ingrains in them their understanding of their reliance on each other and the natural world. A careful balance is maintained between giving to, and taking from, the natural world; this balance is maintained in all areas of myr’na life, with moderation in all things being seen as a virtue.

The Clans

Myr’na society is composed of a system of clan families, ruled over by the Council of Elders. The five major clans are:

Akiyama – Based in the foothills of the mountains of Ayauku, this clan has wealth based on mining. They have a long history and look after the moon of Mangetsu, which is home to a large mineral and gem deposit. The family symbol of Akiyama is the golden cat, and its clan colours come from the metallic ores it is so well known for: cobalt blue and sulphur yellow.

Kaneko – Responsible for a large proportion of the trade routes, this family is one of the most powerful clans in myr’na society. It has a large amount of political influence, being able to push votes and use its influence to keep the peace. It has been granted the greatest number of ambassadorships of all the clans, and thus is seen as having great diplomatic power. They are a particularly notable presence in the regions of Kurohisoka and Kasaijōka. Their family symbol is the koi, normally in a pair to represent balanced opposition, and the clan colours are bold red, royal blue and purple.

Shizuka – The main exports of the Shizuka clan are incense and fabric, and the dress of its members tends towards the more sumptuous and beautiful, demonstrating their luxury. They are the wealthiest of the clans. Their family symbol is the peacock or any other ostentatious bird, and their clan colours include anything iridescent and shimmering, bright or sparkling.

Tanaka – This clan is made up largely of agricultural families, who between them cultivate the greatest amount of land on Ayauku. They are the largest of the clans, with the largest number of branches of affiliated families. Their family symbol is bamboo, a wheatsheaf and plants in general, and the clan colours are browns and greens.

Yukimura – Based in the polar areas of Ayauku, the main trade of the Yukimura clan is fishing and hunting. Their dress tends to be a little warmer than that of the clans in the central areas, with furs being incorporated into their fashion. They are responsible for the largest production of the salted meats and preserved fish that is transported around the planet. Their family symbols are celestial bodies, such as the sun, moons and stars, and clan colours are dark browns, beiges and whites.

Many smaller clans are scattered across the land; they tend to be more self-sufficient, but concentrated in smaller areas. Each clan works with others for the harmony of the myr’na, and by sharing all that is produced, conflict is avoided.

These clans are complex networks of families and branches of those families. While those at the top of these families may be seen to be overly privileged, those privileges come with other responsibilities. It might be said that all myr’na are slaves to their cultural expectations whatever their rank and status.

Rites of Passage and Festivals

Festival Days

There are twelve festivals of varying important within myr’na culture, one in each month. Each are given honour and celebrated in slightly different ways by the family or community celebrating. The six most important festivals are Kakumei Kikan, in January, the Festival of the Dragon, in March, the Festival of the Joudan, in May, the Festival of Omoi, in June, the Festival of the Ancestors, in August, and Tsugi no sekai, in December.

Kakumei Kikan is a festival held on the first day of the year to contemplate the previous year and the turning of the circle. It is a time for myr’na to reflect on how they renew themselves and create themselves anew. For as long as they have had a calendar, they have celebrated the first day of the year with hopes of self-renewal. Celebrations of this festival are specific to each clan and are mostly based on personal, intra-family traditions.

The Festival of the Dragon is a gift-giving festival of generosity celebrated on a single day of March specific to each clan. It is customary for myr’na to be invited to attend the gift-giving days of other clans as well as their own, meaning that for many clans the Festival of the Dragon lasts for several days. In small clans it can be a very casual festival, where members of neighbouring clans are invited simply as a token of warmth and friendship. In larger, more politically inclined clans, inviting members of other clans is a strategic way to strengthen bonds. These festivals are often more elaborate in their attempt to exemplify hospitality.

The Festival of Joudan takes place over three days of May – a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is a festival of jokes and practical tricks in which everybody can play the fool, and in the spirit of surprise the weekend on which it will be held is announced only at the beginning of the month. This festival seeks to help myr’na understand the drives of any mortal and provides a welcome respite from self-restraint by offering a safe period in which this usually reserved race may be raucous, boisterous and publicly express themselves. Large parties are held in the streets that begin with dancing and become more raucous as the festival continues.

Popular amongst the younger generation, the Festival of Omoi is a courting festival. It traditionally lasts only one day, but in recent years it has developed to be celebrated for an entire week in June. Although this festival is one of love and joy, its origins can be found in the tragic folktale of Hirohito. This young man took shelter from a great storm beneath an ancient tree for many days. When villagers came to cut down the tree for its wood, Hirohito refused to let them do so, offering up the wood of the trees from his own estate in its place. The villagers accepted, and the ancient tree was saved. Hirohito spent many more days sheltered beneath the tree, and it was there that a beautiful maiden appeared before him. The two fell deeply in love and were married. They had fine children and their lives were good. One day, the Elders of the clan requested wood from the ancient tree, but Hirohito again refused, offering every remaining tree from his estate in its place. This time, however, the offer was refused. That night, villagers cut down the ancient tree, and as their axes struck its trunk Hirohito’s wife grew sick. When the tree was finally felled, she breathed her last. Hirohito vowed he would never forget his love, and buried her beneath the remainder of the ancient tree’s trunk. Some say that when Hirohito, too, died, many years later, he was buried in the same place, and now two great trees stand in that place, their branches reaching for each other, leaves entwined. During the Festival of Omoi, myr’na give gifts to those they have growing affection or romantic intentions towards. Those who enter formal courtship during the festival are said to have a love as strong as Hirohito and his maiden’s.

For the myr’na, ancestors play an important role in identity, so the Festival of the Ancestors is an important festival for all to observe. It is held over two days in August – the first taken up by preparing food, and the second by offering it to and sharing it with the ancestors, who are considered to be present at the feast and a place set at the table for them. This festival celebrates long-dead ancestors and what they have given to myr’na life and culture, and is followed by a week-long public holiday. It is the oldest festival practiced by myr’na and is so fundamental to the year that even the younger generation observe it with as much solemnity as the older.

Falling on the last day of the year, Tsugi no sekai is a festival spent in silence, meditating on those who have gone before, in order for myr’na to gain a greater understanding of the mortality of their long lives. It recognises the passages of time and the balance between life and death. It is customary on this day to burn incense as an aid to meditation and an offering to the dead, as well as the dying year. While the Festival of the Ancestors remembers the long-dead, Tsugi no sekai remembers those who have passed in the celebrant’s lifetime. Practices during the festival vary from myr’na to myr’na, but it is common to plant blue flowers and spend time in solitude.

Birth

Births are a special time on Ayauku. With controls placed on the population in terms of managing the resources available, they tend to be planned months in advance. These controls take the form of clan allotments: each clan is allotted a certain number of births per year, in line with registered deaths and census data projections. These births are then allotted to individual family groups by the clan Elders.

Pregnancy is celebrated and gifts to help look after the child are given to the parents-to-be. On the day of birth, and in the coming months, the parents are left in privacy to get to know their new child and to discover their name through gaining an understanding of who their child is.

If a child is had outside of the allotted births for the family, the parents, and their children, must leave Ayauku forever. While in previous millennia the punishment was harsher – banishment to relatively uncivilised and uninhabited areas – in modern times the family instead emigrates to the Segovax Cluster to join the Terran Sovereignty. However, this banishment extends to myr’na culture: if a trueborn myr’na knows of a falseborn myr’na, they are expected to ignore them entirely.

Coming of Age

A myr’na comes of age at 25. This marks their entry into adulthood and recognises their ability to make their own choices and take responsibility for their actions. There is no great ceremony that takes place at this time, but instead an informal practice. Rather than receiving gifts, anyone older than the person coming of age visits them and gives advice to guide them through their life. This wisdom is seen as a far greater gift than anything else that could be given.

Marriage

Marriage in myr’na culture takes place over a five-day ceremony. Each day is represented by a different element of the natural world and honours various traditional myr’na values. The first day is the Day of Earth, and represents the foundation on which a marriage is built. The betrothed couple honours their ancestors and celebrates the history of their clan(s) with their families. At noon, the couple lead a ceremony called The Altar of Earth and Flowers, in which they kneel beside one another on an altar adorned by flowers and meditate until they sense that their spiritual bond has been formed. The day is concluded with The Feast of Reminiscence, where both families share stories of their ancestors. The second day is the Day of Fire, representing love that burns brightly. This day is a celebration of warmth and love within the relationship. Myr’na do not need to be in love with each another to be married, yet love and warmth in marriage are still highly valued. The betrothed myr’na spend the day writing a love letter containing an expression of their sincere feelings towards their future spouse. At sunset the Ceremony of Fire begins. Facing each other on opposite sides of a fire, the couple circles around once and then discards the letters they wrote into the flames. Though they never read each other’s letters, it is believed that they will be overwhelmed by the feelings of love in their partner’s words when the letters are consumed by the flames.

The third day, the Day of Air, represents the harmony of unity and freedom. This day is a reminder of freedom and individuality. It allows the betrothed to become accustomed to tending to their own needs for emotional and spiritual space. They spend the day apart from one another and use their time for whatever activity they wish. On this day they wear simple and comfortable clothing with no clan markings. The fourth day, the Day of Water, representing a beautiful and prosperous future, ends the separation of the betrothed. Extended family and friends are invited to this day devoted to art and dance, and it often becomes a spectacle for a large audience. The day consists of rehearsals, followed by a night of performances. The number of performances and prestige of the performers depends on the wealth of the clans. The couple is dressed in lavish, flowing garments and performs a dance that demonstrates their connection with the Omega and each other, called the Dance of Prosperity.

The final day of the wedding is the Day of the Omega, also referred to as the Day of the Spirit or the Day of Souls. It is the final celebration of spiritual unity where all the elements previously celebrated come together as the couple is officially united in marriage. Extended family and friends will usually stay at the clan residence and a morning of various activities will be arranged for them. While guests are preoccupied with activities that celebrate the four elements in harmony with one another, the couple has time to work through the administrative details of their wedding. Once all administrative work is done, the couple will make their first appearance as a married couple and join the guests in celebration.

Weddings outside Ayauku

Since myr’na have begun to venture outside their own system, there has been an increasing number of myr’na weddings in other parts of the Segovax Cluster. These ceremonies vary in the degree to which they adhere to tradition. In order to be a myr’na wedding it must take place over five days and the basic ceremonies must be included, but they may be scaled down.

Funerals

These are very sombre affairs, as the body is carried towards the Omega to reunite the soul of the departed with the Omega, returning the energy back to its place of origin. The body is burned within an Omega sphere, symbolising the end of a light from within the darkness, while memories of the deceased are shared with the Omega and those gathered.

Blue flowers are seen as a symbol of death. If given to someone, it is a sign that the giver wishes them to die; if worn, it is a symbol of grief. On Ayauku it is rare for myr’na to wear blue flowers; however, with some younger myr’na now serving in the Terran Sovereignty Army, grieving has become much more common.

Appearance and Dress

Myr’na naturally have deep blue or grey skin and hair in light shades such as white, grey and silver. Their faces are traditionally painted with ornate geometric clan markings, red for warriors and any other colour for healers.

When a myr’na takes the oath to become a warrior, they sever their connection to the Omega with a complex ritual. They then paint their clan markings in red, indicating that they will shed both their own blood and the blood of others. Over time their skin fades, the natural blue colour becoming grey, as the influence of Omega leaves them.

Traditional civilian dress tends towards clothes such as kimonos and floor-length clothing similar to qipao. This clothing hearkens back to an era where any form of aggression was forbidden and the clothing was created to be difficult to fight in. For warriors, hakama is the traditional clothing. It has the appearance of the traditional kimono while allowing movement so that the warrior may fight in it.

The younger generation of myr’na are divided between those who still wear traditional clothing and those who have begun to embrace fashion from other cultures. Although they may still reference their origin in their fashion, kimonos may be cut to half length, or a flowing jacket may be layered over alternative fashions from other worlds.

Within the Terran Sovereignty Army, some regiments have started to provide kimonos in their regimental camouflage. These kimonos tend to be adapted by the wearer to reflect their personality. They are usually made on commission as myr’na troops survive their deployments and take on formal roles within the TSA.

Omega Weaving

There is a small number of distinguished artisans who specialise in a kind of dress-making known as Omega weaving. In this practice, dress makers have learned to take small amounts of Omega energy and physically weave it into the threads of clothing. The Omega energy visibly runs through the fabric and appears as strings or sparks of blue light. These garments are extremely rare and extraordinarily expensive. Very affluent families are sometimes able to have ceremonial robes for weddings made by these specialist artisans.

Language, Writing and Naming

It was discovered early in the first contact between myr’na and other races that the language they used was too complex to learn without years of extensive training. Even after such learning, the subtleties of the language are unseen by non-myr’na. As such, all myr’na have taken to learning and using the common Terran language extensively out of politeness and in order to strengthen their union with the TSA. As a result, their native tongue is almost never heard outside of their own system. However, those myr’na living outside their homeworld will often still write in their native alphabet.

The myr’na alphabet is a collection of symbols that follow most of the rules of common writing with some key differences, the most notable being that it is written vertically in columns starting at the top left of a page and finishing at the bottom right. Once a column of symbols is filled, the words continue again from the top of the page, to the right of the previously written column. If a word is too long to fit into one column, it can be linked to the next column with a down-facing dash, much like common script.

The uppercase lettering of symbols is almost identical to the lower case, except for two circles drawn with them, specific to each character. Each new word begins with a capital letter in order to distinguish easily between different words. All sentences end with a full stop, which takes the form of a small circle. Different symbols are used for “?”, “!” and quotation marks, but are otherwise used in the same way as in the Terran common tongue. Other punctuation marks are easily recognisable to those familiar with the Terran common tongue.

Numerical symbols are used just in the same way as typical script, except that a comma is used to distinguish between different numbers that appear next to each other. (See Appendix for the myr’na alphabet.)

Names have meaning within myr’na culture, from places being named for purpose to a name being chosen for a child within the first six months of their being born. Names are never chosen simply for aesthetic value. A child’s name is often given to it after long contemplation by its parents, who note how the child reacts to the world around it in its first few days, weeks or, in rare cases, months.

The full naming convention for an individual depends on the level of society in which they have been brought up; however, for the majority of myr’na it is traditional to introduce oneself with a personal name followed by a family name and then any clan affiliation (for example, Akemi Fukuhara of the Akiyama clan or Asa Shizuka of the Shizuka clan). The closer the family name to the clan name, the closer the familial links to the clan.

Myr’na deeply value their family names, and in formal situations will introduce themselves using their full given name. Some myr’na who join the Terran Sovereignty Army or move in Terran societies choose to adopt an informal name that is more easily pronounced by their allies.

Superstitions and Traditions

The fundamental underpinnings of myr’na superstition are balance and luck. Things are often weighed on scales to see if they are fortunate and deals are only made if they are seen to be balanced. A excess of something is seen as unlucky, bringing with it ill health and conflict. Some things are seen as being inherently lucky. Thirteen is considered the luckiest number and families allotted thirteen children are considered the most fortunate and long lasting.

The colour red is seen as a symbol of sacrifice – it has been this way since time immemorial, inspired by, or inspiring, the myr’na warrior convention of painting their clan markings in this colour. White is seen as a symbol of luck, hearkening back to the creation story of Ayauku, with Yumehito being represented by this colour. Conversely, black or dark greys are seen as unlucky, representing the blasted wasteland that many consider Ayauku to have been before the coming of Yumehito.

Any gift given by a myr’na has symbolic meaning beyond its value. If a myr’na gives an item of crockery or chopsticks as a gift, it means they are accepting the recipient as their family and inviting them to receive hospitality within their home. Giving blue flowers to somebody means the myr’na wishes them dead. Giving four or nine of anything is considered unlucky, and white flowers are avoided as gifts, being associated with illness. Business dealings and diplomatic relations adhere to strict gift-giving etiquette – it is expected that in initial business meetings myr’na will exchange gifts that are wrapped beautifully but not too ostentatiously. Any gift received during business dealings that is unexpected will be reciprocated with a return gift afterwards that matches approximately half the value of the original gift. It is considered very rude to gift an item bearing a company logo or brand on it, as this is seen as advertising rather than gifting. This belief has caused a few diplomatic difficulties in the past when myr’na have had dealings with companies and businesses from other planets.

Personal gift-giving also has traditions associated with it. When receiving a gift, it is seen as polite to refuse at least once or twice before accepting. It is also considered polite for the recipient to leave the gift wrapped until they are alone. Sometimes a myr’na who has received a gift may say “This is a dull and uninteresting thing”. To non-myr’na, this can be interpreted as extremely rude, but it is a Terran translation of a traditional myr’na phrase that conveys the fact that their relationship with the gifter is more important and appreciated than the gift itself.

Black-Haired Myr’na

There are a number of stories and folktales in which black-haired myr’na feature. These myr’na are presented as ghostly or monstrous figures, and their tales are often told as horror stories or cautionary tales.

Sha’hon

It is said that there once lived a pretty myr’na by the name of Sha’hon, who had beautiful, long, pure white hair and piercing blue eyes. Sha’hon fell in love with a charismatic warrior with purple eyes and grey hair; his smile had something wicked about it but Sha’hon was in love. They met in secret for a long time, as Sha’hon was betrothed to a diplomat of the Kaneko clan. One day, Sha’hon saw her lover touching the hand of another; heartbroken, she ran into the woods and threw herself into the river. Her family found her a few days later, and were horrified to find her skin had turned white and her hair black.

It is said that her spirit, full of sorrow, visits young male myr’na, wearing a black kimono and a funeral veil across her face, her skin white and her hair still black. She appears at night and asks the victim “Are you true?”. No matter the answer, she sees the truth of their soul. If they are true and pure she will leave them alone, but if they have wicked thoughts in their hearts she will fill their lungs with water and watch them drown.

Sonoaida Ikimono

Sonoaida Ikimono is a black-haired myr’na that is said to be able to move around homes using the gaps in between things. Not many have seen the creature and lived, as it hates being spoken about. According to the few accounts from those who claim to have seen it, it is around 4ft tall, thin and frail looking, with pale grey skin that looks like it is pulled too tight over its frame. It is said to have long black hair, with fingers ending in long needle-like claws and a mouth filled with sharp teeth. Sonoaida Ikimono will not attack anyone unless they see it, which is why myr’na will announce their intent to move items around their home by saying “Sonoaida, Sonoaida, I ask you to leave”. Superstition says that if they do not do this and they meet Sonoaida Ikimono, it will drag them into the between spaces, where they will become like Sonoaida Ikimono.

The Myr’na Zodiac

There are seven animals of the myr’na zodiac, with every calendar year honouring each of these animals in turn. In the traditional myth of the zodiac, each animal exhibits different personality traits, and the animal of the year in which a myr’na is born is believed to be representative of their personality.

The story of the zodiac is based on the myth of creation. It is said that before returning to his slumber, the great dragon Yumehito appointed six creatures of Ayauku to watch over his world. These animals were Ishi Tsugo, Aku Tobu, Chisakawa, Jimo, Kitabei and Sutoka. They would be led by the first and most trusted guardian, Korishuku.

Korishuku

Korishuku is a small white bird to whom Yumehito entrusted the care of Ayauku after it opened his eyes to the beautiful world he had created. Myr’na born under Korishuku see the loveliness the world has to offer and, as a result, are wildly passionate about life. They are vivacious and joyful, and make very compassionate leaders, but they must be mindful they don’t let others control them. Their idealistic views of the world make them prone to intense melancholy when exposed to harsh realities.

Aku Tobu

The second creature chosen by Yumehito was Aku Tobu, a wasp-like creature with blue spots. Yumehito realised that even in a peaceful and bright world, there would be times of darkness. In these times, Aku Tobu would be needed to shed the light of hope and optimism. The happiness of myr’na born under the radiant Aku Tobu is infectious; however, they experience negative emotions as intensely as positive ones, and must learn to control them. Though they are not easily upset, when provoked Aku Tobu can become spiteful.

Chisakawa

The third creature chosen was Chisakawa, a small and delicate rodent. Yumehito saw that there was not enough sensibility to keep the guardians ordered. Chisakawa, in its calm wisdom, would be the voice of certainty. Those born under Chisakawa are delicate in everything they do, maintaining a steadfast kindness. Although easily accepted and loved by others, Chisakawa must be mindful of themselves, as they easily shy away from expressing their own thoughts and ideas. Chisakawa are able to persevere through most challenges, but their unwavering certainty can cause them grief if they become too naïve.

Ishi Tsugo

The fourth creature to be chosen was the wild Ishi Tsugo, a canine that revels in the joy of the hunt. Although unstable, Yumehito could see the unmistakable promise Ishi Tsugo had. Myr’na born under Ishi Tsugo are wild at heart, with a hard-working attitude that carries them through all troubles. They are loyal to their friends and an unwavering honesty that ensures others will understand them. However, their honesty can become fierce, and their intensity can be intimidating. They must be careful to avoid losing their friends, as they are fuelled by them and can become consumed by loneliness without them.

Sutoka

The fifth creature to be chosen was Sutoka, a small and sleek cat-like creature with velvet fur. Yumehito observed Sutoka’s perceptive nature, and sought to help them learn for the good of others. Myr’na born under Sutoka are quick-witted and adept in academic studies. They have an elegant air about them and are often more confident with themselves than others. They can read the emotions of others easily, and although they can help their friends in this way, they must be careful not to overstep the boundaries of personal space. Sutoka finds it easy to manipulate people, so they must be careful to use their abilities for good.

Jimo

The sixth creature chosen was Jimo, a deer-like creature with large, splayed horns. Although the prey of many other creatures, Yumehito saw that Jimo had a certain strength and realised that even those who are weak can be strong. Myr’na born under Jimo are upbeat, remaining friendly and polite in most situations. They are talented at socialising, and light up a room when entering, charming those they meet. However, Jimo must be careful to moderate their opinions, as they can be very reluctant to accept the ideas of others.

Kitabei

The last creature chosen was Kitabei, a tall and serene sauropod. As the largest land creature, Yumehito was charmed by the quiet nature of this noble animal, and saw that the world would be safe in its care. Those born under Kitabei are quiet and thoughtful people. They carry an innate sense of wonder about them and are observant and fascinated by the things others would overlook. They are wise beyond their years, but tend to think too deeply and can get caught up in the past. Kitabei must be careful to stay grounded in the present and not be weighed down by past experiences.

Leadership and Politics

The myr’na do not have any fixed political parties, as the Elders of the various clans have one aim: to maintain the peace of the planet.

There are thirteen chief Elders, who are called the Himitsu. These are made up of one from each of the five major clans (normally the head of the clan), one from the Keisatsu and seven elected from the different regions of the planet and moons. They meet at the great meeting all of the Elders, the Giron-kan, at least once a season and normally every month.

While the Elders can be elected into their positions, it is advised that they are no younger than 150 when they join the council, as it is a lifelong position. Once chosen, they undergo a ceremony that is a closely guarded secret to induct them into the role. Once given the title of Himitsu, they take on that role until death. Upon their death, a new Elder is elected, or chosen if it is a seat held by one of the major clans (Elders will usually name an heir to their seat before death).

Each Himitsu has thirteen Himitsu no Kipa serving under them, who are elected and chosen from a pool of applicants. Their role is to assist the Himitsu in gaining the views of the people in order to allow them to make the best decisions for the planet and its inhabitants. These 169 officials sit in debates and discussions that are witnessed by the Elders before they take any votes. These debates and discussions are always open to the general public, but the final voting is kept secret until publication of the results.

The Council of the Himitsu is responsible for overseeing the stability of the planet’s population to avoid any further calamities being caused by rapid expansion. This includes the passing of the laws concerning the breaking of the number of children permitted in a marriage and gathering the statistics to allow population projections to be allotted to regions to ensure stable population spread.

Crime and Punishment

Within the Ayauku system, crime and punishment is simultaneously the domain of the clans and of the Council of Elders.

The Keisatsu exists as a check on the myr’na people, being both a force for law and a military force, and it is expected to obey the voice of the Council. This extends to many mundane matters, such as punishment for murder, theft, etc. It also extends to many more complex matters of legalised social etiquette and behaviour. For example, touching someone without their permission when not in mourning is classed as assault.

Upon detainment for a crime by either the offended, the member clan of the defendant, or the Keisatsu, the suspect is tried according to their crime. Many crimes, such as theft and touching another without permission, are classed as lower crimes and are tried and punished internally by a conclave of clan Elders, who determine guilt and punishment. However, if a crime, such as murder, is viewed as being particularly against myr’na culture, morality or philosophy, it is tried publicly at the Giron-kan. To ensure a swift trial, guilt is determined beforehand by the Himitsu no Kipa, who will then advise the Himitsu on voting after a case is made on both sides. Punishment is then deliberated.

While there are certain standard punishments, with imprisonment until natural expiration being the usual punishment for murder, if a crime is judged to be severe enough the Giron-kan will deliberate further. Such punishments can range from a fine being requested of the offending clan to imprisonment of the individual and banishment from Ayauku of their family for up to five generations. This last punishment is rarely used – it stands as a threat to any who would profane Ayauku’s most sacred conventions and places.

Education

Most myr’na are home-schooled, either by their parents or in small groups within their communities. A collective pool of knowledge within clans means that although many of the communities are united in their ideals, they are also often limited by their teachings being specific to their lifestyle. This has led to a gap between the knowledge of the agricultural communities and those in more prestigious cities.

For example, dance is a highly valued art form taught to all myr’na in their youth; however, the purpose and technique of dance varies significantly between different types of communities. Within agricultural clans, dance is taught as a means of connecting to the land and is often used as a form of ritual for a better harvest, whereas in distinguished, political clans, dance is seen more as a performative means of exhibiting one’s talent and beauty.

Talent is at the centre of myr’na educational values. Although home-schooling is common, cities have public schools to which the reputable myr’na of large clans often send their children. These schools focus on cultivating artistic skill and enriching cultural knowledge, which is often carried through into higher education.

These public schooling establishments are largely not needed by agricultural communities. However, it is not unknown for myr’na aspiring to higher education to travel to areas in which a broader education is more readily available.

Agricultural communities generally focus on teaching their knowledge of farming machinery and physical skill, ensuring both the produce and lineage of their work will continue after their deaths. As such, most myr’na from agricultural clans are less knowledgeable about their own culture and teachings, but are also more physically able and connected to their Omega powers, using them just as effectively as their more prestigious brethren. Although generally more secluded from other myr’na, these communities still take part in traditional festivals and celebrations, and pride themselves on their hard work, as agriculture is essential to myr’na life.

There are some areas of study that are considered so culturally important that it is rare they will not be taught. However, there is no combined body of education that oversees this – instead, the expectation falls on the clans to maintain their own reputation and standing through the education of their youth.

Dance is one of the most highly valued components of national schooling. It is viewed culturally as a pure and direct way of connecting with one’s Omega powers, and dance studies focus on the control of energy flow within the body. Through dance, myr’na are taught ways of expressing their peaceful connection with the Omega. It also serves as a way to bring communities together when taught as a form of collective expression or ritual. Dance in agricultural clans is not created with any emphasis on performance, but rather focuses on the experience of togetherness in participation.

Though dance is often prioritised in myr’na education, some clans find they have a stronger connection to the art of song. Though not common, the study of song is accepted as a substitute for dance, as they both concentrate on refining the flow of the Omega within the body. At particularly prestigious public schools, singing is taught alongside dance, and myr’na who excel at both are highly respected.

Visual arts are another very significant part of myr’na culture. Much of myr’na art is based on a stylistic representation of the world they live in in, such as landscape paintings depicting sweeping hillsides and mountains. Although not considered as important as subjects like dance, most myr’na take up this subject voluntarily in order to express themselves. It is commonplace for myr’na to gift artwork of wildlife or plants to other clans as a peace offering or a demonstration of allegiance and union.

History is taught across all clans in order to demonstrate the value of the role of the Elder in maintaining peace and balance in society, as well as to convey myr’na ideals and justify their importance. History lessons focus on the Great Calamities and usually stress the importance of maintaining a peaceful, traditional way of life. Although history is a commonly taught subject, the newer generation of myr’na often reject the focus on the past, seeking new and creative ideals.

Etiquette is the most basic part of myr’na education; it is taught from a very young age and generally within the family. It outlines behavioural expectations, such as the restrictions of touch and personal space and how to compose oneself in the presence of other clans. In later education, etiquette is subject to evaluation by clan Elders at formal social gatherings.

Much like etiquette, scribing and language are usually taught to myr’na at a young age by their family. This area of study branches out into the art of poetry, a quiet form of expression that is seen as reflecting the reserved myr’na ideals. It also aids the myr’na healer class in connecting with their inherent abilities, allowing them to learn chants that fit their mentality and ideals. Most myr’na have a specialised chant that reflects their personal connection to the Omega and strengthens their abilities.

Once myr’na complete their learning to an acceptable standard, as judged by their clan-appointed educators, they have the option to advance to higher education under the teachings of specialised myr’na who excel in their fields. Many myr’na aspire to attend universities, as higher education has produced some of the most talented and highly respected myr’na in history. However, it is recognised that being academically inclined does not increase one’s value as a citizen in myr’na society. Shared myr’na values focus on the contribution of the individual to society, so university is regarded as only one of many paths towards success. Entry to these bodies of higher education is usually judged by a private set of exams set by the universities in question. The only form of regulation exists in the pass/fail rate of each year, with attempts usually being made to ensure that only 30% of applicants achieve a high enough standard.

Not all clans are well disposed towards higher education. Some agricultural clans view manual labour as a more impactful way to contribute to the wider community, and consider university a frivolous activity for personal, social or political advancement. Such clans have established a negative attitude towards larger trading clans who appear to place value on art and politics above all else.

City-based clans and trading clans generally view cultivation of artistic talent and social prominence as the optimal way in which one can make the most significant and positive impact. If a person is gifted in an art or craft, developing their skill through higher education will allow them to eventually use their talent for the greater advancement of the myr’na community. The focus of achievement in higher education is to be able to benefit one’s community rather than undertake self-aggrandisement. Myr’na value modesty and harmony, so when self-advancement and elitism are found within the educational system they are always well disguised. Universities are very demanding, with only dedicated and talented myr’na having any hope of graduating from these institutions.

Scholarships are available to those who cannot afford higher education, but the selection process is rigorous, so only few get the opportunity. Universities are usually located in large cities, so city-based clans often have better access to them. However, it is common for myr’na from agricultural communities with talent or a great passion for a particular area of study to travel to city universities to apply for scholarships. In refining their talent, a myr’na’s contribution to society is made more specific and personal, making them an honourable representative of their clan. It also gives myr’na the opportunity to meet members of other influential clans and is therefore seen as a road to a prosperous marriage.

Technology

The technological advancement of the myr’na race is largely stagnant. The capability of their technology is similar to that of the Terran Sovereignty and has been for thousands of years. However, myr’na excel in the aesthetic refinement of their technology.

For the past five thousand years, the myr’na have perceived no need to advance technologically. Where the Terran Sovereignty has continually advancing technology and controls vast swathes of space, the myr’na are content with their current state. Vast and efficient fusion reactors power a deep-set and reliable infrastructure, sleek and quiet dreamliners travel across both the skies and waters, and technology almost everywhere is built to be aesthetically pleasing, rather than simply efficient.

For as long as anyone can remember, it has been fashionable to get away from technology rather than seek it. Many country houses and estates are equipped with the bare minimum of lighting and data terminals, with the inhabitants, usually in residence seasonally rather than full time, espousing the rustic life as beneficial for the senses and soul.

The one area of technology in which the myr’na are superior to other races is the melding of Omega power and technology. This is found in their signature teardrop-shaped starliners, for which the myr’na use a secret method of navigation through the mists of the Muzukashi nebula. While there are many other forms and styles of ships, it is primarily in these that the myr’na strike out into the wider galaxy. These ships are vital for the navigation of the Muzukashi nebula, as the electromagnetic distortion contained on its outskirts interferes with other technology and instruments.

Those who navigate these starliners are singularly well-trained and elite healers, known as Seishin Majo, of which there are no more than two hundred at any given time. To become Seishin Majo, a myr’na with outstanding talent for the Omega must be personally sponsored by a clan leader and tutored by the incumbent Seishin Majo. They are usually chosen before reaching adulthood, due to the fact that they are required to serve out their lives on the starliner they guide.

The Ayauku System

The Ayauku system is located within a colossal expanse of ionised gas, the Muzukashi nebula. Due to the electromagnetic nature of the nebula, scans cannot penetrate it, rendering any ships that attempt to enter the nebula through conventional means lost and blind. The myr’na get around this through the utilisation of their natural Omega skills. A class of highly respected and elite myr’na are known to be the only ones able to navigate ships through the nebula.

The Ayauku system itself is composed of seven planets and a single yellow sun.

Ayauku is the fourth planet from the sun and the only habitable planetary body in the system; the other planets, while explored, mined and harvested for gas, are utterly inhospitable.

Ayauku has five moons: Kōriwa, Tsukikage, Hisakata, Mizuki, and Mangetsu, all of which were terraformed and settled after the development of space flight around –17,000. However, due to two of the Great Calamities, two of these moons are now cold, dead rocks; one of them, Tsukikage, was wrought asunder by a mining accident, and the other, Kōriwa, was rendered dead by the outbreak of an unnatural and deadly plague. The legacy of Tsukikage is now a broken silver shape in the night sky of Ayauku, as well as a band of glowing light formed from the orbiting detritus. Kōriwa is particularly hard to spot, as it is now just a dark brown circle against the night.

The other three moons, Hisakata, Mizuki and Mangetsu, are all inhabited and designed for agricultural, commercial and industrial uses.

Geography of the Planet


The Poles

The northern pole is the largest of the two poles, located in an icy tundra where little life can sustain itself. Only the hardiest of predators live here, feeding off arctic mammals. The southern pole is quite small and made up of large stretches of trees, a winter-bound forest where wildlife is much more common.

The Northern Band

Located around mountainous reaches and deep valleys, forests and groves are common in the northern band, along with streams and rivers. Most of Ayauku’s planet-side farming is based here. The majority of cities are built in this band also, on the sides of mountains or at the bottom of valleys, where they are easily protected and sustained by local produce. The animals here are small and territorial, mostly unsuited to the harsh mountain air, remaining within the reaches of myr’na civilisation for protection against the elements. A lot of the more peaceful, vulnerable animals have adapted to the mountains in order to survive the threat of predators living in the central band.

The water in this region is carefully sectioned and collected into wells, as most other water sources on the planet are salt-based due to ocean flooding. Water is collected routinely before being shipped to the areas in great need of water, such as agricultural clan settlements or the agricultural moons of Ayauku.

The Central Band

The plain and grasslands are centred here, with large, flat landscapes and soft, rolling hills. Most territorial predators make their home here and, as such, it is uncommon for healers to venture too close. Bands of warriors travel through the carved roads between the northern and southern sectors, bringing produce back along the roads and keeping the peace. The predators generally stick to the plains and the edge of the deep forests, hunting the smaller animals that live there.

The Southern Band

Mangrove swamps and tropical shore-side areas are common here, with a more exotic variation of animals. This land is rich in produce and foraging, although dangerous. Deep forests cover this region, as well as long beaches of white sand. The myr’na people treasure this place as a blessing of natural beauty, having strict prohibitions on the felling of trees or overfishing here. Many of the tree and plant specimens in the southern band are highly valued in myr’na cities, and warriors making the trek to this band can make an easy living from selling any they bring back with them.

Due to severe flooding in the past, most bodies of water in this band are salt-based, aside from solitary rivers and streams, the various animals and plants having adapted to the high sodium levels.

Fauna and Flora

Ayauku is home to a wide variety of creatures that co-exist in a finely balanced ecosystem, most only being found in their own bands or regions.

In the northern pole, fauna are often covered in thick fur and layers of feathers that provide warmth and keep water away from the skin. Many creatures here are white or grey in colour, blending in against the snowy landscape. Of particular note is the korishuku, a small white bird with thick fur on its body; its wings and tail, although primarily feathered, are covered in a layer of white protective scales. This creature is highly treasured for its association in folklore with the creation of the world, and to kill one is said to bring many years of bad luck. Some clans hold the killing of this bird as a crime.

In the northern band of Ayauku, fauna have developed to survive the largely mountainous terrain and cold weather. They are hardy, nimble and usually furred. Some of the creatures of the northern band have been domesticated, such as the sutoka and the suru tsugo. The sutoka is a small, cat-like creature with a slim body and silvery fur. This fur is very short and has the texture of crushed velvet, making it a very popular household pet. Its ears are large and pointed, while its legs are shorter than many other feline species on Ayauku. In the wild, the sutoka lives high in the mountains, making its den in small caves and scavenging food from larger predators. It can survive temperatures as cold as –50°C. The suru tsugo, although originating in the northern band, has been specially bred over the millennia from its ancestor, the ishi tsuro, to emphasise certain features and make it less volatile. It is a horse-sized canine used for transport and protection. Wolf-like in appearance, it has thick, mottled fur and the strength to carry great weights. It is the most common companions of warriors, and packs of them are stationed in every city to help protect inhabitants. In recent generations suru tsugo have also become valued pets outside of warrior life, being seen as honoured members of the household.

Also found in the northern band is the chisakawa, a small squirrel-like rodent with large, attentive eyes and thick, beige fur. Although it is a prey creature, its numbers proliferate quickly due to its ability to go unnoticed: it projects a small, passive Omega field that induces peaceful and soporific mind effects in those who come too close. Despite this, the chisakawa has also been domesticated, and is often kept as a pet. The northern band is also home to the predatory creature known as the ishi tsugo, a large and violent canine creature commonly found in the mountains living off smaller mammals. The ishi tsugo is also a migratory creature, travelling from the peaks in small packs to the central band for the winter, where it hunts the plains creatures and causes more problems for the warriors that traverse the area.

The central band is populated by territorial predators and dangerous creatures, making it an inhospitable area. Warriors and their suru tsugo often traverse the central band to facilitate trade, but see the hostile creatures here as a test of their skill and strength. They will also hunt the jimo in this region for their scales, which make valuable resources for armour and jewellery. The jimo is a tall, deer-like creature with moss and small plants growing in the brown fur on its back. Its legs are covered with layers of its famous coppery scales. It lives on the grasslands of the central band in small, protective herds. Also hunted by warriors in this region is the aku tobu, a palm-sized wasp with two pairs of wings and glowing spots that cover the length of its body. The aku tobu is a nocturnal creature attracted to the glow of the moonlight. It has a powerful sting that produces a mild venom that causes paralysis in its victims – it is this venom that warriors extract from the aku tobu they successfully hunt.

In the southern band a great number of creatures are amphibious or water-dwelling, suited to survival in the tropical climate and mangroves of the region. Living in mangrove swamps, the numaseru oji is a large, amphibious animal similar in appearance to an axolotl. It has large gills and pale, translucent skin. Although it is the only apex predator in the area due to its size and ferocity, it usually won’t attack unless provoked, and spends time feeding on smaller animals and fish. In the tropical forested regions of the southern band the supani bakkin can be found. It is an otter-like creature with a slim, brown-furred body and flippers instead of front legs. It feeds on small animals and insects, and is often hunted for its pelts.

The oceans of Ayauku are teeming with life, and fishing provides a large amount of food for the myr’na. It is the umi kyojin that dominates the oceans, with hulking mass, three sets of fins and bands of stark white scales. Similar in size to a blue whale, the umi kyojin feeds on smaller fish and sea-dwelling mammals and acts as a guide for myr’na fishermen, generally appearing in the most produce-rich areas of the ocean. It presents no threat to the myr’na generally, but due to its immense size accidental casualties and been incurred as a result of boats getting too close. The umi kyojin is greatly respected, almost revered, by those in the fishing industry, and it is believed that if it is sighted on the first day of a new fishing voyage, the catch will be abundant and the fishermen and their families blessed.

The plant life of Ayauku is similar to the species found on other habitable planets. Trees are common and varied, with willow, pine, bamboo, birch and oak analogues being the most plentiful. A variant of the cherry tree, found in every region except the poles, is the most popular and common tree found in myr’na settlements; it has rich, black bark and its slender branches display delicate purple and blue flowers all year around. This species of tree is named utsukushī kanashimi.

The forests and valleys of Ayauku are rich with specimens of all types, such as delicate flowering mosses or richly coloured orchids. Although a very green landscape, most of the more vulnerable plants, such as flowers or mushrooms, are hardy and long lasting, bringing colour and variety to the planet almost all year round; only the frost brought of winter causes these specimens to wither.

The myr’na, being adept at agriculture, farm many plants, their main produce being a soybean analogue. This is a specific variant that can withstand the cooler mountain temperatures in which they are grown, and the beans produced have a pale blue tint. Being an oil based plant, it is easily adapted into many different recipes. Another example of a farmed crop is the horsetail plant, similar in appearance to bamboo, with long threads branching out from the stem; it can be eaten, or used in medicinal ways to prevent bleeding or heal wounds, making it another commonly used resource.

Natural Resources

Ayauku itself does not boast many natural resources. While a roaring silk, clothing and gem industry grew after making contact with the Terran Sovereignty, most of its trade value lies in the level of craftsmanship the myr’na are capable of, honed by tens of thousands of years of specialisation within clans. Ayaukan furniture is in high demand due to its delicate, shapely construction, and there have been recent talks of sharing processing secrets with the Terran Sovereignty for the flexible, tough polymers that myr’na ships and buildings are made from.

However, the moons of Ayauku are particularly rich in many types of resources – crystallised hydrocarbons are processed into light, tough polymer shielding, steel and aluminium, and rare gems are extracted from the heart of dead Kōriwa. Raw materials are often traded with the Terran Sovereignty, due largely to a lack of need for them within the Ayauku system. The mining industry has undergone a colossal boom since trade was established with the Terrans, with some independent companies specifically buying up mining drones and sectors of Tsukikage with the aim of selling to Terrans.

Notable Places

Eienomura – The capital city of Ayauku and the location of the Giron-kan and Jinsei no Ayumi. It is located in the midst of the approximate border between the central band and southern band. It is predominantly a residential city, with towering fluted and curved towers extending hundreds of metres into the air. It is home to some 5 million myr’na, with the majority being important members of their clans.

Giron-kan – The Giron-kan is the myr’na centre of government, where the Council of Elders makes the decisions that will influence the direction of the myr’na race. After the ancient structure was destroyed in the calamity of 61 CE, and rebuilt in 210 CE, it can now accommodate the entirety of the clans’ Himitsu and Himitsu no Kipa. It is a beautiful building, considered to be the finest expression of myr’na artistic culture. Its walls are covered in images that chart the known and acknowledged history of the myr’na people on Ayauku. It occupies a proud place at the head of the Jinsei no Ayumi.

Gōman no Yama – The home of the Keisatsu, this tower of elegant landing pads and communication dishes borders the Jinsei no Ayumi at the far end from the Giron-kan. From here, each sector is mapped and coordinated.

Jinsei no Ayumi – This enormous garden is the largest single structure on the planet. It occupies an artificial hollow hill around 5 miles in diameter, at the peak of which is the Giron-kan. The Jinsei no Ayumi is populated with the natural biology of the central band, and contains various biome levels in which one can experience the flora and fauna of the other planetary bands and the three habitable moons.

Mizunoyako – The only major city in the southern pole, Mizunoyako is notable in that it is a totally climate-controlled city. This is essential, as the city itself bridges the Suiri glacier. The run-off water here is noted for being exceptionally pure. It is also rumoured that one of the planet’s Omega spheres lies deep below Suiri, although this is unsubstantiated.

Seizōsareta – This bustling city, full of squat, organically curved buildings and manufactories, is considered the capital of Ayauku’s industry. Found on the moon of Mangetsu, this city is responsible for producing many of the mechanically viable yet artistically curved sheets of polymer required for myr’na buildings. It is also the main source of commercial and private ships. It is a mark of pride to have a ship produced in Seizōsareta.

Shinobiyoru – This mangrove forest of the southern band is considered a particularly dangerous area. Covering around 30 square miles, this jungle is both a sanctuary of nature and a death trap. This is not due to any form of flora or fauna, but to the quality of water and the thickness of the forest. It is easy to get lost in this area and, once lost, it is almost impossible to find safe drinking water, food, or anywhere to pitch a fire.

Shinseinahai – Noted for being the largest utsukushī kanashimi of its type, this tree is found within a special reservation of the same name. It is located within the central band, several hundred miles north of Eienomura. Towering over 70 metres above the ground, and more than 100 metres wide, it is estimated to be over 20,000 years old, as knowledge of it goes back as far as historical record. This is notable because no other utsukushī kanashimi has been known to live past 500 years. Its blue blossoms are particularly desirable for the funerals of Elders and beloved individuals; it is considered particularly noteworthy for one to journey to this tree to pick them. Children of this tree are prized in many clan palaces, but none have lived to the age of their parent.

Suna no Iwa – Suna no Iwa is the largest mountain on Ayauku. Located in the southern band, it is revered as a place of spiritual contemplation. The Omega is, however, noted to be particularly weak in this area, with only the innate myr’na ability to take on wounds being strong enough to work.

The Keisatsu

The system defence force of Ayauku is known as the Keisatsu. While it functions as a serving military, it mostly carries out policing work and guards sufficiently important individuals and locations, such as embassies. Although made up predominantly of myr’na from the warrior class, the Keisatsu cleaves to the myr’na ideals of pacifism, aiming only to perform military/violent action when all other options have been exhausted.

Recruitment to the Keisatsu is voluntary. Every member of the myr’na race, at any time in their adult life, can choose to join the Keisatsu. It is open to both pacifist myr’na and warriors. Healers in the Keisatsu may find jobs as analysts, communications officers, shuttle pilots and more, without ever having to be involved in combat. Those that wish to aid in combat situations may be assigned to a local force as a combat medic, or, if their expertise warrants it, as an Omega consultant to an officer.

Individuals may enter service with the Keisatsu using traditional contracts. This is a largely ceremonial affair, with the main aim being to decide the length of service they will undertake. Initial contracts cover a year of service, not including training time, with the option to renew the contract for periods of up to ten years. In exchange, they and their immediate family are provided for and housed at the expense of the planetary government throughout the time of their service and for the same number of years after their service. In the event of death in service before the contract has been fulfilled, the deceased’s family will be provided for for the number of years of service they vowed in the contract.

Among the richer clans, for whom providing for their families is not such a concern, the focus of serving in the Keisatsu tends to shift towards the prestige and honour that may be earned by serving Ayauku in this way. Those who join are considered to represent their clan within the Keisatsu and are afforded more opportunities for advanced training, promotion and assignments that reflect their personal talents. However, this will generally only be offered to those who show themselves to be worth the extra attention. For those that do not prove themselves worthy, promotion to a largely ceremonial role is given. This ensures that the clan and individual are placated and the Keisatsu is not compromised as a result.

Structure

When interacting with the Terran Sovereignty Army, the rank structure of the Keisatsu is translated to the closest equivalent. For example, Kenshi becomes Private and Kyaputen becomes Colonel. This has been the standard operating procedure since 6012, when the Keisatsu sought to work more closely with the TSA in the face of the renewed One Bakkar threat.

Kenshi, as the lowest rank, make up over 95% of the membership of the Keisatsu. They are divided into squads of 5–20, depending on the recruitment rate from their particular area. Any individuals with a criminal record that sign up to the Keisatsu are not permitted to advance past this rank, their service being seen as penance. Each squad is commanded by a Gunso (Sergeant). Twenty of these squads make up a single rentai (regiment). These rentai are controlled by a Kyaputen (Colonel), who has the power to promote a Gunso to a Shunin-kan (Sergeant-Major) as his second-in-command. Each rentai has a specialisation – land, air, sea, and orbital operations.

In command of the Kyaputens are the Sabukomandās (Brigadier-Generals). There are sixteen of these in total, each in command of four rentai with which to watch over their assigned sector. The specialisations of the rentai they command are dictated by the needs of the area they serve.

The planet of Ayauku, divided into ten sectors by population count, is watched over by ten Sabukomandās. The five moons constitute an additional sector each – Mizuki, Mangetsu and Hisakata constitute the 11th, 12th and 13th sectors respectively, with the shattered moon, Tsukikage, being the 14th. The 15th and final sector is the dead moon, Kōriwa. Notably, the forces of the first sector have the prestigious role of guarding the Giron-kan, the great meeting hall of the Elders. The polished and lacquered red and gold armour they wear is resplendent with the etched names of great Elders from history, while the matching naginatas they carry are used more as a statement than a threat.

The 16th Sabukomandā is purely responsible for liaising with the TSA, and is a position created in the year 5867 to oversee the Keisatsu-led cultural exchange. The success of the programme has led to the position being made a permanent fixture of the Keisatsu.

Sometimes an entire rentai is displaced from Ayauku in order to serve in partnership with the TSA. Due to the natural resilience of the myr’na to the Omega, the 4th rentai of the 16th Sabukomandā was deployed alongside TSA regiments in 6014 against a One Bakkar warband with an unusually high number of adepts. This rentai succeeded in breaking the back of the adept core in the One Bakkar ranks, allowing the TSA forces to wipe the rest out of the warband.

Above all the Sabukomandās is the position of Shirei-Kan (Commander-in-Chief). To be promoted to this position, a Sabukomandā must be elected by more than thirteen of the other Sabukomandās. This process is usually swift, the previous Shirei-Kan usually having groomed their successor and designated them a suitable heir to the position. Once this has been done, the decision must be ratified by the Council of Elders.

Training

Training is typically basic and largely ceremonial. There are many combat styles and forms passed down over the millennia espousing the use of a wide variety of blades, striking weapons, and bare hands. The healer class also undertake rudimentary aspects of this training: although they are taught no aggressive manoeuvres, they are expected to learn how to defend themselves by parrying blows and moving around their opponents.

The main three combat styles taught in the Keisatsu, of which there are many variations and interpretations, are called Denka, Kame, and Toge.

The style of Denka focuses on aggressive combat, pushing combatants to disable their enemy before they can land a substantial blow, with little regard for their own safety. This style is usually taught with swords of both the single-handed and two-handed variety. Kame focuses upon defence, guarding in a manner that expends as little energy as possible. This style is designed for protracted fights, where the practitioner is encouraged to allow his opponent to tire themselves out before moving in for the disabling blow. This style typically uses either a single-handed weapon or a polearm. Toge, a balanced mix of the other two styles, espouses a strong but mobile guard. The aim is to strike at the opponent after removing their ability to strike back by disarming them or trapping the weapon within a shorter range. This style typically encourages the use of daggers, either as a complement to a single-handed weapon or two at the same time. A variant of this, focusing on blocking, is the form taught to healers.

The Myr’na Alphabet and Numbers


The myr’na language is written vertically, and the first letter of each word is capitalised. Although there is some similarity in punctuation with the Terran common language, a few punctuation marks are different: ? = ?, ! = !, “ = .

The following people contributed to the creation of this Green Cloaks expanded planetary lore:

Joshua Burgess
Samantha van den Esschert
Sally Gurney
Kim Huggens
Johanna Scott-Bennett
Eve Pelta Lennox

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