Bad Things Happen
This part originally appeared in the September/October 2016 issue.
97th of 2026 (288-94): A funeral on the beach, Askisfant
Ora was almost pleading with me, “I want you to come, please. It’s not only for my children, it’s for your brother too.”
“Nobody will want me there. They’ve never wanted me to come before, inappropriate I was told.” I was lying.
She sat beside me. “You’re wrong, that was over a year ago. You’re part of us now. The children already put a sesherin on the wall for him. They’ve composed a narin23 for him. You have to come, Isabella.”
My eyes were filling with tears. “I just can’t, Ora, I can’t. It’s too much. Your children, my brother, Siish’s love, there are twenty eight sesherin on that wall, now, Ora. How many more, Ora?” It was my turn to plead, beg for some understanding.
She took my hands and looked at me, there was an odd type of kindness in her voice. “As many as it takes Isabella, efepkammosaryn Edtyassos.”
The Luriani build their temples on the shore; I guess that makes sense for a people who live on a world that’s mostly water. Everything is white, it’s their colour of mourning, representing the crest of a wave, apparently. I didn’t quite get the symbolism, but it seemed to fit. Luriani funerals aren’t really that sad. None of the wailing and breast beating you get in some places. You remember those who’ve gone. I had to talk, tell them about Pedro, I managed a few words before I broke down. My eyes stung with tears as they burnt the four empty coffins and scattered the ashes into the breakers. They sang, but all I could do was cry, so much pain, so much death, that place, just so much hurt. I stayed after the ceremony; I wanted some time alone. The temple was a peaceful place, a good place to sit and think. I saw My Lady Manish kneeling in a corner. I watched her; she lit a candle and seemed far away. I didn’t intrude; she was still a mother with a son at war.
I stood by the shore, I was so tired. This was never going to end, they’d keep fighting until there was nobody left. I just wanted to go home. I walked out into the water, it was warm. I started to swim. I knew how close I was, but there wasn’t a part that wanted to save me this time. I swam for a few minutes and then I felt the first jolt. I stopped and trod water. Thirty five years. I struck out, only a few strokes then that blinding moment of pain. I started to sink, I didn’t try to fight, no point. I saw something through the water, a white shape, a young sesherin. It came up under me, rolled over and nudged me up gently onto its belly24. It swam slowly, carefully towards the shore, its powerful flippers delicately holding my head above the water, its long tail fluke rhythmically sweeping the water. I guess it wasn’t my time to die after all.
Nashu Manish was praying. She didn’t really believe, very few Mmarislusant did, but, well, it couldn’t hurt. She was totally lost in her own thoughts when she heard the tracker scream. She pulled it out and looked. Horror spread across her face. She yelled and screamed for help. A young priest came, she explained. He sprinted into the water, robes flying in all directions. Blandii came running, she told him to find a boat.
Apparently no one has figured out how the sesherin call each other; some say ultrasound, some movements in the current, some pheromones, some even think it’s psionic. But regardless of how they do it, they do it. More sesherin came; they surrounded me, taking me closer to shore. I saw somebody swimming, a young priest. He joined the sesherin; he didn’t try to interfere, just smiled and stroked the sesherin. A boat, My Lady and Blandii, they pulled me from the water.
My Lady Manish came to me later “Is it really that terrible here, Isabella? So terrible that you would wish to die?” I said nothing. “You have friends here, people who care for you. Whatever is between us, why would you wish so much hurt on them?” She sat beside me on my bed. “Do you know what the Luriani call people who are saved by the sesherin? Ysesheshal, Sesh’s beloved.” My mouth formed a tiny smile; I knew enough Luriani to realise what it actually meant. “They say they’re marked for a great destiny.” She peered into my eyes trying to find something. “Why, Isabella? Why?”
She was right; I would have hurt people I didn’t want to hurt. But this place was insane. My Lady had sent me to be tortured and then treated me with so much kindness and compassion. They loved their children so much and then sent an endless stream of them to die in war. I just wanted to go home. I locked my eyes on hers. “You said once I didn’t understand. I don’t; explain it to me, why am I here?”
She took a long slow breath and considered carefully. “It is complicated, Isabella.” She thought a moment. “The Luriani have much in common with their beloved sesherin, playful and placid normally. But you threaten them and they become something very dangerous25. A pod of angry sesherin is something to be feared. It is not pleasant to see what is left of a desperate or foolish liadtee26 that attacks a pod. They will tell you sesherin don’t harm people. That is incorrect. Every so often a visitor to this world will swim with the peaceful sesherin, do something stupid and end up beaten to death. The sesherin don’t harm us because we have the good sense not to threaten them.”
I was insulted. “So you’re saying I was raped and tortured because I threatened them!”
“In a way, yes. Not you, but the Imperium and you suffered for it.” She hesitated “Four and a half thousand years ago Edtyassos happened. And in many ways it kept happening for over another two thousand years. Have you heard of sishgukhidtar?” I nodded, I’d learnt about it with the children at school. To be honest, I’d been shocked that they’d expose young children to something so horrific. “That is part of Edtyassos. It is what the Vilani did to those who defied or opposed them. And horrific as sishgukhidtar is to you or I, it holds a very special horror for the Luriani. Not only agonisingly painful, but it forever sundered them from their people. For so social a people, there could be little worse.”
She paused to draw breath; I was getting irritated. “Are you going to explain or give me a history lesson?”
She smiled. “Patience, please, just a little Isabella, I am getting there.” Another breath, regaining her thoughts. “Some are surprised we expose our children to such things, especially at such a young age. We do it so they remember, so they know what can and has befallen when other control our fate.”
I could see what she was saying, but I couldn’t see how hurts from so long ago were relevant. “But that, all that, Edtyassos was thousands of years ago.”
“Ah yes, but they, we,” she emphasised the we, making sure I understood that she was part of them, “are a very old people, almost beyond imagining. Over a hundred millennia ago the great raft ships were reaching every corner of this world. The Luriani developed trade, diplomacy, statecraft, even war, all before agriculture or metalwork27. The Luriani had a single world-spanning civilisation while my ancestors were hiding in caves from Ancient war-machines. What is a few thousand years to a civilisation that is over a hundred thousand old?” She paused a moment. “You've doubtless heard the phrase efepkammosaryn Edtyassos? Do you know what it means?”
My irritation had not subsided. “Siish told me it means a lot of things.”
“No, it’s used for a lot of things, but it only means one thing. We won’t let it happen again. The rest of the universe may have forgotten, but we remember. Efep-, weird, isn’t it?” I nodded; I still didn’t understand that. “The future occurring in the past. Or the future occurring because of the past. Our experience of control by others was… not encouraging. So we remember; we are an old people and we make a point of it. But that long memory has a price. Some become obsessed by it, blinding them to all else. They call it Edtyassoswislad, Edtyassos madness. Padter Kolnel-Lekhtenant, your tormentor, suffered from it, and for her Edtyassos can justify anything.” She looked sad. “You recall when you first came here? When you first met Siishubuu, how you lashed out in fear?” I remembered the poor man clutching his hand. “This war, this slaughter is us lashing out. If Sherin Adtmral had spent even five minutes to talk, all this could have been avoided. But he saw a threat and he reacted. If we didn’t fear conquest so much, Sesh Liryn would have remained small and carefully controlled. In many ways, Isabella, the entire Protectorate suffers from Edtyassos madness.”
I understood what she was saying, but it didn’t help. “All that, all that may be true, but it’s no excuse.”
Her voice grew heavy. “No, no it is not. You recall, when I first met you, I said it was pointless to apologise for what we did? It is, it was unforgivable, but it was done, done without regard to the consequences. Now all we can do is try to undo what we did. That is why you are here.”
I sat, considering what she’d said, “When you sent me there, to that place. Did you know what would happen to me?”
Her eyes became downcast, “That you would be treated so badly, that you would be tortured and raped, no. Of that, I had no idea. That it would be hard, that you might be hurt, yes, I knew that.”
“And, how did it come that I was taken out of that place?” The pain was still there, dull and distant now, but still there.
She sighed heavily, “That, Isabella, is the thing I am most guilty of. Sesh Liryn is not taken lightly. There are protocols that are supposed to prevent what happened to you from happening. Supervision, checks, weekly reports. I trusted in them far too long. The only reason you were saved is I stopped trusting them. Isabella, apologising may be pointless and I won’t insult you by asking for forgiveness, but I am so very sorry for what happened.”
I sat trying to take it all in, considering all the things she’d said, all I’d seen. Her with Iikush, the candle for Siish, even how she’d treated me. I sighed, “I don’t think I can ever forgive My Lady Manish, but I think I can find it in my heart to forgive Nashu Manish.” Forgiveness, it’s odd, but I think I needed to forgive her, for my sake. I just couldn’t hold on to the hate any more. It was destroying me.
Her face grew into a small smile, “Thank you.” She paused as if on the edge of a question. “I hope one day I might be able to call you ‘my dear’ again.”
I returned her smile, “One day, Nashu, you will, but not today.” I may have been able to find forgiveness, but there was still too much pain for that.
100th of 2027 (291-95): The First Battle of Daramm28, Askisfant local hospital
It had been a year since I’d forgiven, the pain that was that place had faded. It wasn’t gone; I don’t think it would ever be gone, but it was different, like some old wound that occasionally would flare but didn’t control my life. Nashu had managed to ‘bend’ the rules. I had my practice licence and worked two days a week in the local hospital. It was usually mundane stuff, minor injuries, routine sickness. Anything serious went to Antiavash. I worked with the children mostly. They called me Issee Dokhtor. Most of Askisfant accepted me; I was one of them now. I knew I had a ‘home’ tens of light years away, but this was my home too. And these people, they mattered to me.
I was at lunch; Ora had brought me some Shugane. She liked to come and talk. We were laughing about my family’s latest message. My aunt had remarried; the video of them all dancing was kind of funny. Odd, you danced a lot here, but it lacked the formality of the Imperium. I looked up, I don’t know why, maybe I was thinking of home. I saw a very faint blue flash, then another, more, four I think, though they tell me there were thirteen in total, spread around the world. I’d been in space enough to know what they were. I didn’t think much of it; Daramm is a busy world, ships come and go all the time. I turned back and watched with Ora.
We were sitting laughing at my father dance when we heard the sirens blare. We didn’t panic; just another drill, we assumed. We stood and started to move towards the shelter in the hospital. I remember feeling the blast as the first salvo hit and seeing Ora fall forward. Another missile hit near by, I didn’t hear it, I couldn’t hear anything past the ringing in my ears. I saw people running, the next flash and bodies thrown into the air. I looked over at Ora, a dark patch was spreading beneath her. Luriani blood is just so much darker, almost black. I felt a dampness spreading over my own face. I reached for Ora and rolled her over. I didn’t cry, there was no time, just closed her eyes and stood. I saw a young girl cowering. My hearing was returning, I heard screaming and explosions. Dtinal Verasrasti appeared carrying the limp body of a child. I took the child and told him to bring more. I laid the dead boy on the ground next to Ora. I took the girl and ran for the hospital.
The bombardment lasted maybe five minutes at Askisfant, but the injured kept coming. The hospital was frantic, wounded in the corridors, the dead laid out on the grass outside. I checked another child, so many children here, a dislocated shoulder. I held him and told him to be brave, there was no time to be gentle, I was needed elsewhere. He screamed as I snapped the arm back into place. I wanted to stay with him, but I was needed elsewhere. I left him with a young Iadtlu29 medic, she was hardly much older than he was30. I saw Nashu, covered in blood. She was weeping and cradling something. I think I already knew what it was, but like I said, needed elsewhere.
Nashu was gone three days. An urgent Council meeting. Eneri couldn’t get back the first day. Antiavash had been hit badly, over a thousand dead, but they released him as soon as they could. Kamsi was in shock, just wandering. I’d had to sedate her. I was exhausted; Eneri tried to help as best he could, but in truth he wasn’t much better than Kamsi. Nashu found me in the dining room, cramming breakfast. “Isabella, how much sleep have you had?”
“A few hours last night, I think.”
She looked so tired and haggard. “You are not the only dokhtor, Isabella. Blandii tells me you’ve hardly been home, working eighteen or twenty hour shifts. We all are grieving for Munush, Isabella, but working yourself to death does her no honour.”
I slowed my eating. “The news says they captured the commander, that she’ll be executed.”
Nashu sighed, “Yes, she was captured; but, no, despite Lord Assemblyman Kaito Minomoru’s rather unwise comments, we have no intention of reverting to that kind of barbarism31.”
Blandii had brought her some breakfast. It was weird to see him in his Iadtlu fatigues at table, but he’d been pulling shifts every bit as long as mine, looking for survivors, digging out bodies, doing whatever he could. “So, what will happen to her?”
Nashu seemed to consider for a very long time before answering, “Nothing. She will be treated as any other prisoner of war.”
I suddenly felt anger race through me; it caught me quite by surprise. “She blew up the school, Nashu! She killed twenty two innocent children!”
She looked at me, her eyes heavy with sadness. “She, or her ships, killed rather more than that, far more than the one hundred and twenty six in this small town. The death toll is well over twenty thousand. But there is no evidence they deliberately targeted civilians. This is war, Isabella; bad things happen. I am just thankful we protect the archologies so well32.” She could see the anger in me. “If it helps, her life here will not be… pleasant, Isabella; she will be… thoroughly interrogated, and there will be no parole for her, if only for her own safety.”
I shuddered ever so slightly. “Sesh Liryn?”
There was no joy in her reply. “Do you know, Isabella, that is the first time you have ever used its name? But, yes, that is very likely.”
It didn’t help, but my anger did subside. I thought of Munush. “Nashu, I think it is time you started calling me ‘my dear’ again.”
252nd of 2027 (078-96): The Second Battle of Daramm33, the Manish Estates
The school had been moved to the estate while a new one was built. Blandii grumbled about turning the ballroom into a classroom, but I think he secretly liked having the children about. Nashu was in Wascir, attending the Council. We heard the distant wail of sirens from Askisfant. Nobody took the sirens lightly now. The children started to cry, the teachers and I shepherded them to the cellar as quickly as we could. Kamsi and the staff joined us, she was clutching Iikush in her arms. Blandii appeared, rifle in hand, Iadtlu fatigues over his other arm. It made the children feel better to see him, they knew nobody would get past him. We sat in the cellar, singing songs and telling stories. I looked at my watch; fifteen minutes—this was no drill. Blandii saw and nodded. I went to leave, the children mobbed me, trying to keep me there. I told them it was alright, I was ysesheshal, Sesh would look after me. I left.
The house was eerily quiet. My footsteps echoed as I walked the empty halls. I looked out a window. I saw flashes like lightning high above us, definitely no drill. I got my bag from my room and went to the garage. Kamsi’s grav-bike. I kicked off and rode. The sun was bright, the birds singing. A pleasant summer afternoon. I saw a huge fireball streak across the sky. One of ours or theirs? I wondered. I had to laugh, Siish and his crews, they were ‘us’ now, the Imperium ‘them’. They’d made a mistake coming back, the first time had only confirmed what they thought and now they were fighting to defend our homes and we’d die for that. I saw a pod of sesherin swimming off the shore; I wondered if they knew, were they waiting to help? I reached the hospital. I could see Dtinal Verasrasti organising the Iadtlu, young children and the elderly mixed in, ready to search or fight. A squad of Guards, the serganet far too young for this. Wagner and Ziishuu Dokhtors were preparing supplies and readying for wounded. I joined them and waited for the casualties that never came.
20th of 2028 (192-96): The Manish Estates, Askisfant
Nearly three years, I’d been here so long. I’d even managed to almost forget Sesh Liryn, that occasional ache now rare. My leash was held very loosely, I had 35 kilometres, more than enough to wander and do most things. If I needed it, Nashu could arrange more. Kamsi had recovered, well as much as any mother could. Gamaagin was pregnant, another new life. Here in Askisfant I was accepted, I was one of them. Elsewhere not so much. There were whispers and glances. Well I was still ‘the enemy’, I suppose, but they still hurt. I had discovered that Nashu loved to matchmake. I had been introduced to more than a few ‘suitable young men’ and even a few ‘suitable young women’; Nashu liked to cover all the options. I smiled at that, Nashu meant well, but there were still some wounds that hadn’t healed. It was breakfast time; I’d dressed, Nashu did so insist on correct attire. I entered the dinning room, Blandii had already laid out the plates. “Ah, Isabella, you slept well, I hope?”
“Yes, thank you, very well.” The nightmares were rare now.
“Good, good. Kamsikinash is planning a little shopping trip for this afternoon, she asked if you’d come.”
“I was hoping to check in at the hospital, Nashu; young Shen Rida is in again, a broken leg this time.”
“Ah, that boy, adventurous doesn’t quite cover it, does it?”
I smiled slightly, “No, not quite.”
“But I really think you should go with Kamsikinash; you will be needing a new gown.”
“Oh?” Nashu was up to something.
“Yes, my dear, I’m having a small affair tonight; there’s somebody you simply must meet.” I just rolled my eyes.
162nd of 2028 (353-96): The Manish Estates, Askisfant
I was packing; I’d be going home soon. The war was over, my leash had been switched off, I could go where I pleased now. My family would be waiting for me, just over the border at Puluke. They’d been offered to come here, but they’d not set foot in Protectorate territory. But my heart was breaking. It would mean leaving Augustine. Nashu’s ‘somebody’ had turned out to be wonderful, funny, intelligent, attractive; the last five months had been bliss. I was in love and I didn’t want to lose him. I remembered the night two months ago, the first time we were together For the first time in three years I felt whole again, finally at peace with Sesh Liryn. He was waiting downstairs, I wasn’t looking forward to saying goodbye. I went down, he was in the drawing room, Nashu was there, too, smiling. He stood as I entered, he always did, but he seemed nervous this time. Nashu nudged him. What was going on?
“Isabella Julia Sanchez y Montoya Dokhtor,” so very formal; he usually just called me Issee, “Would you please do me the great honour of becoming my match?”
213th of 2028 (039-97): The Manish Estates, Askisfant
I was on my bed in tears; I’d spent most of the past three days there. My beautiful new life had fallen apart. I’d thought very carefully, but in the end I’d accepted Augustine’s proposal. The Imperium had declared me a deserter, stripped me of rank and medal. My family had written disowning me, calling me a traitor, saying I’d disgraced my brother’s memory. I’d known this would be the price, but I was in love. However, Augustine had not arranged it properly with his family. And the Sherins did not approve. Nashu had tried to intervene, invited Madam Caroline Sherin, the family matriarch, for afternoon tea. She’d told Madam Sherin that I was a fine woman, one she should be proud to have as a daughter. That’s when it had fallen apart. Apparently a ‘dirty Imperial’ was tolerable as a lover, but most certainly not as a wife. I had never seen Nashu lose her temper before. If my heart had not been breaking it might have been amusing to see the two powerful matriarchs screaming at one another. There was a knock at my door. “May I come in, my dear?”
I managed, “Yes.”
Nashu entered and came to sit beside me. “I am so very sorry I ever introduced you to that spineless brat. Can you ever forgive a meddling old woman?” Guilt, real guilt, I had only ever heard guilt in her voice when she talked about Sesh Liryn before.
I forced a smile, “I’m sorry, too, and of course I do.”
Nashu took my hand, “Now, my dear, I’ve made a few enquiries. There is an opening in paediatrics at Antiavash Central, excellent prospects, would you like me to arrange an interview?” She asked rather than simply did; she very genuinely was sorry.
“I will think about it.” I couldn’t face any prospects right then.
“Siishubuu is also here; he wishes to speak with you.”
“Siish, Nashu? What about?”
“He wouldn’t tell me. And it brings up another matter. I would prefer if you no longer called me Nashu, I would…”
I felt my heart shattering again. “Why!? What have I done wrong?”
Nashu grinned, “Nothing my dear, quite the opposite in fact. If you had let me finish, I would much prefer it if you called me ‘Mother’. Now your brother wishes to see you.”
216th of 2028 (041-97): Askisfant War Memorial
Tomorrow I started a new life, left this place I’d called home for three years. There had been forms to fill out, papers to sign, goodbyes to say. The children were upset, but I promised I’d come back as much as I could and promised them stories when I did. There would have to be a ball as well, any excuse for a dance here, but we’d come back for that. Gifts, too; an apartment, to get me started when I needed it, and something to get me around. I smiled at that. But now I had somewhere I wanted to be. It was night but the sky was bright, both Aryn and Mrai were above the horizon. I stood before the dome and looked at the wall. One hundred and ninety three sesherin carved in cold granite, each with a name below it. I found Ora, her children, my brother, Munush, Rosa Wolke’s mother, Despi Lasani’s brother, so many names. You could touch the name to see them, to read of them. I paused to say a prayer, then entered. The school was the same as that day, preserved for eternity. I walked carefully through the playground, swings and climbing frames twisted and charred. The school rooms. The wall inside, thirty seven faded paper sesherin. I wanted to do something, to mark their loss, but here you didn’t touch. I stood lost in my memories. I heard someone behind me “I thought I might find you here, my dear.” Nashu.
“I wanted to say goodbye.”
She came and stood beside me. “They’re not gone, you know, not as long as they’re remembered. And they will always be remembered.” I knew this, the Luriani are a very old race, and they make a point of remembering.
We stood in silence awhile. “I must thank you, Nashu…” the slightest of cough “…sorry, Mother; but I think the apartment is far too big for me.”
“Oh, I’m sorry too my dear, but you are a Manish now; we do not squat in two room bedsits. Besides, I have watched you for three years. I think actually it may be too small, I am rather expecting a lot of grandchildren from you.”
I chuckled, just a little under my breath. Yes I did have hopes, one day. “I was surprised at the bike Na… Mother. After the… accident and all.”
There was a mischievous look on her face I’d never seen before. “I doubt that will be an issue again. And anyway I took some pains to ensure more than adequate safety equipment was installed.”
There was something I needed to tell her; I had held it for so long, and she had done so much. I turned to face her. “Mother, Sesh Liryn, there’s something I need to tell you.”
Her face betrayed no emotion. “Yes, Isabella?”
“There was something I was hiding, something I knew, something important. Vilis, he showed me…”
She placed a finger on my lips. “Shush, my dear, you mustn’t tell me.” She smiled “Padter Kolnel-Lekhtenant would be most pleased to hear that, though, she swore right up to the end that you were, that her actions were justified.”
“But you didn’t believe her; that’s why I was released.”
“Oh, on the contrary; I was sure she was correct. You were released because it was the right thing to do.”
I was confused. “But don’t you want to know?”
“No, my dear, I do not. I am convinced that whatever your secret is, it is all that kept your mind intact there. So I’d much rather you kept that secret.”
“What happened to Padter Kolant?” I didn’t feel any anger or hate, just curiosity.
“A secure mental institution…” She sounded a little smug, “…though Oskar Sherin has been pushing for her to be released for some time. He sees her as… too valuable a resource to waste.”
I felt myself shiver ever so slightly at that. “Do you think he will be able?”
She took my hand. “Not as long as I am head of the Security Committee. That I will guarantee. But even if he does, you have no need to fear, you are my daughter now and Sishubuu’s sister when I pass, protection more than enough.”
“Thank you, Mother, but it’s not me I’d be afraid for.”
“I have two final ‘gifts’ for you.” She handed me an identity card.
I had to laugh; surprised wasn’t quite the right word “Er… thank you, Mother; I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with this.” A Mrigadeer in the Verasal intelligence branch, perhaps a little unusual. To be honest I’d more than had my fill of the military.
“Oh, my dear, that one is more for me than you. Shen Rida, when Siishubuu was a boy, he’d have given him a run for his money. My dear son does have a habit of getting himself in trouble. The rank is the minimum required for a white five security clearance. You may find it has a myriad of uses. Think of it as a courtesy; you won’t actually be expected to serve, I would never ask that of you.”
I took the card and placed it in my pocket, perhaps it might be useful. “And the other ‘gift’, Mother?”
She pushed a data chip into my hand. “I thought you may wish to have these. Perhaps with the journal Eneri suggested you keep.”
“What are they, Mother?” I think I already knew.
“A copy of your records from Sesh Liryn. Your suffering deserves remembrance just as much as those remembered here.”
Notes numbered 1-22 appeared with previous parts of the story.
- Narin, a traditional Luriani funerary song. One of the few Luriani musical forms without an associated dance style. Usually incorrectly translated as lament. The narin is a fast paced upbeat form. A celebration of a life rather than a mourning of a passing.
- Sesherin are highly social animals and this behaviour is seen in the wild to protect an injured podmate. There are recorded instances of sesherin acting in this manner to save Luriani in distress. The Luriani regard it as mark of Sesh’s favour and such individuals are known as Ysesheshal (Usually rendered as “Sesh’s beloved” but literally “Sesh’s lover”).
- Sesherin defend themselves by blows from their powerful flippers and fluke. Their intelligence and social nature means a pod will co-ordinate their attacks, making them extremely dangerous.
- A large marine apex predator native to Daramm.
- The unusual rise of civilisation on ‘stone age’ Daramm is normally attributed to two factors. First is the abundant sea life and minimal seasonal variations that allowed year round food surpluses and the establishment of permanent settlements without agriculture. The second is the very high concentration of heaver elements throughout the entire system. This resulted in the evolution of a number of plants that could be treated with easily obtainable minerals, producing materials comparable to bronze and, in the case of the arbusodt tree, mild steel (Arbusodt wood remains an important building material on Daramm today, used as a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to steel). Many anthropologists and sociologists have theorised that this peculiar rise of civilisation has had a profound effect on Luriani culture. While the Luriani urbanised early, the lack of agriculture placed severe restrictions on the size of their cities (limiting them to the low thousands), leading to a highly social culture with a strong preference for informal authority and a seeming inability to organise large states.
- Commodore Rebecca Bat Elam’s raid on Daramm is considered one of the most daring Imperial actions of the Luriani War and one of the few successes of the Ley Fleet. She managed to take her destroyer flotilla deep into Protectorate territory undetected and strike at the capital itself. Her plan called for deliberately ignoring safety protocols and exiting jump space by crossing the 100 diameters limit of Daramm itself. The raid caught the defenders unprepared and she was able to bombard the surface for almost fifteen minutes challenged only by surface based fire. Bet Elam’s flagship, the light cruiser Al-Hassan, was crippled covering the escape and she would spend the rest of the war in captivity. The raid caused little damage, but was a much needed boost to the morale of the Ley Fleet and a blow to the Protectorate’s prestige.
- The Iadtlu are the traditional Luriani militia dating back to pre-contact times. Many Protectorate citizens were members, joining in their early childhood and remaining well into adulthood. It served both as a reserve pool of trained personnel allowing the rapid expansion of the Protectorate military and a civil defence force in times of disaster and emergency.
- In addition to its military and civil defence functions, the Iadtlu also served as a youth training corps, encouraging good citizenship and moral values (akin to ancient Terran Scouting movement). Children as young as 8 could and regularly did, join. While Iadtlu members could not volunteer for regular military duty until 18, any member over 12 years of age could volunteer for service in a local defence unit. During the Luriani War, many young children did volunteer for such service. While considerable efforts were made to restrict such service to support roles, they were trained for combat.
- The death penalty had been abandoned by the Luriani in the early years of the First Protectorate and generally most Protectorate citizens regarded the concept as barbaric. However Bet Elam’s raid resulted in brief calls for its reintroduction.
- During the final years of the First Protectorate, the Luriani fought a bitter series of wars with a neighbouring pocket empire. During those wars, Daramm’s vulnerable archologies were deliberately targeted. As a result, the archologies feature extensive defence systems.
- The Imperium’s attempt to repeat the success of Commodore Bet Elam’s raid was a costly failure. The Protectorate had reinforced the defences and Vice Admiral Manish’s squadron forced the Imperial raiders low into Daramm’s gravity well. Trapped between Manish’s liners and withering ground based fire, the Imperial battlecruisers were destroyed without inflicting any damage on Daramm.