Moroz

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Located within the X’yr Vharn’p system Moroz has overcome a variety of challenges - hundreds of years of isolation, decades of war, its cold and icy nature, strife between its unathi and humans, and more - to become, without a doubt, the most important planet of the young Empire of Dominia, itself a major regional power in the Orion Spur. With roughly six billion permanent inhabitants Moroz is home to upwards of two-thirds of the Empire’s population, and the vast majority of noble houses - both minor and major - make their home here, as does the royal family. Contrary to other inhabited planets, Moroz lies fairly far out from its star - meaning that, despite being inhabitable, most of the planet is covered in ice and snow. As a result the vast majority of its human settlements are concentrated around the middle of the planet, where massive taiga-like forests instead dominate. Despite a lack of easily settled and arable land Moroz has become exceedingly wealthy in recent years due to its colonial possessions, and the native Morozians of the planet have become some of the wealthiest people in the Empire. In recent years efforts have been made by the Empire of Dominia to reclaim some of the planet’s massive polar regions due to its steadily growing population, though not much success has been had from these programs.

The imperial capital of Nova Luxembourg houses fifty million residents in what was once a humble colonial settlement barely eking out an existence in the remains of their colony ship. In the years since then, the city has grown to be a true galactic capital filled with wealth, prestige, and academic knowledge. However on the other side of the planet lies evidence that not all is well on Moroz. Within the Semi-Autonomous Region of Fisanduh the former Confederated States of Fisanduh capital of Neubach sits as a reminder that the Empire of Dominia is a society ultimately built upon the conquest of those weaker than itself, and seeks to expand the reach of Moroz even now. But Neubach and Fisanduh provide another symbol: an icon of resistance to the Empire that still yet stands, even in its homeland.

Moroz has two moon, Lyoid Primary and Lyoid Secondary, though only Lyoid Primary is inhabited - the moon features a small mining outpost designed to extract lithium from the planet’s surface.

History

The history of Moroz as a planet is intrinsically linked to the history of the Empire of Dominia as a whole and, as such, discussing it separately is an exercise in futility. The fate of the planet has, for as long as the Empire has existed, been tied to the fate of the Empire. Without Moroz, the Empire of Dominia as it now stands simply does not exist.

Environment

The environment of Moroz is dominated by one thing: the cold. As a result, the planet is somewhat uncomfortable for human inhabitation while being extremely difficult to live on for unathi. Heavy overcoats are a common form of clothing due to this temperature, with fancier coats being a typical fashion accessory of the Primaries of Moroz. Upwards of seventy percent of the planet’s surface is dominated by its massive polar caps, and much of the area that is not tundra or outright polar icecap is dominated by cold taiga forests. Temperatures are typically near or below freezing, and most areas on Moroz see snow year-round. What oceans there are are generally quite small, and snake their way around the equatorial taiga regions of the planet. A body of water known as the Domelkoian Sea is the largest body of water on the Morozian surface, and many of the Holy Kingdom of Domelkos’ and Imperial Alliance’s cities were built around this during the early period of colonization.

The large polar ice caps of Moroz are known as the Lyod, and are quite inhospitable. Plants and animals are rare and, if present, typically small to endure the polar winds that often whip across the ice planes found across the planet. With temperatures usually well below freezing and arable land all but impossible, human inhabitation of this area is extremely rare. Only the Lyodii (Meaning “People of the Lyod” in Vulgar Morozi), dedicated survivalists that often exist outside of greater Morozian society despite following the Holy Tribunal, reside outside of the rare reclaimed zone.

Morozian Flora and Fauna

The flora and fauna of Moroz, both native and modified by the experienced laboratories of House Volvalaad, are all adapted to this cold - lest they quickly wither away and die in the “eternal winter” of Moroz. Most animal and plant life is concentrated in the taiga of Moroz, though some venture into the tundra “shrubland” surrounding it, with only a few animals eking out their existences in the massive icecaps of the planet. Here are some examples of creatures that can be found on Moroz.

The tenelotes is a large, roughly horse-sized, herbivorous herd animal commonly found in the equatorial regions of Moroz outside of Fisanduh. These mammals are covered in a thick layer of fur that is often utilized in Morozian clothing, and are fully able to be ridden by a trained human. Tenelotes were often utilized by the Imperial Army during the War of Moroz as pack animals, and they are still sometimes utilized in the tundra of Moroz due to their reliability. Where tracked or wheeled vehicles cannot go on Moroz, the tenelotes often goes instead.

The prejoroub is a large omnivore, roughly the size of a Solarian wolf, native to the taiga forests throughout the equatorial regions. This catlike animal has very large, broad paws to allow it to tread across snow more easily and is one of the fastest animals on Moroz. Prejoroub are pack hunters that typically work in hunting parties of up to six animals in order to bring down large prey such as tenelotes. The prejoroub is often used as a symbol of Imperial Navy vessels, due to naval doctrine dictating that small vessels must fight in a pack to overcome larger opponents.

The confusingly-named yupangyangwangmi (often shorted to “yupmi”) is an extremely large rodent, roughly the size of a Solarian donkey, native to the mountains of Fisanduh. Yupmi are friendly, docile animals that were domesticated by the Confederated States of Fisanduh nearly a century before its fall and were a common pack animal for its army during the War of Moroz due to the ease with which they could climb up Fisanduh’s mountainsides with their six legs. A significant amount of artillery used by the Fisanduhians during the War was carried on the backs of these sturdy animals. In the postwar era yupmi are often utilized by the Fisanduh Freedom Front to haul equipment without attracting unwanted attention and the ability to hide weaponry under the voluminous fur they possess.

The yastr is a bird of prey commonly found throughout the mountains of Fisanduh. While they are able to eat nuts and fruit, yastr prefer to consume small game commonly found along the mountainsides. These large birds are nocturnal and eerily quiet when they fly, despite a significant wingspan intended to keep them aloft in the thinner air towards the top of the Fisanduhian mountains. Yastr, despite their size, are able to be trained by experts and were commonly used as an alternative form of communication for the Confederated States of Fisanduh Army during the War of Moroz. Presently, they are often used as messenger hawks by the Fisanduh Freedom Front.

The treutduro is a genetically modified dove commonly found throughout the grand cities of Imperial-controlled Moroz. Originally genetically modified to better withstand the cold climate of Moroz, the treutduro is larger and lives longer than its Solarian counterpart. It is typically seen as one of the primary symbols of the Empire of Dominia and is often utilized to represent the so-called peace that the Empire brought to the war-torn planet. The birds are easily trained and quite intelligent, and are often kept as pets by Primaries and Secondaries alike.

Society and Life on Moroz

How one lives their life on Moroz is highly dependent upon which region of the planet they are originally from. If one comes from the Empire of Dominia-controlled parts of Moroz, the majority of the planet’s surface, their life will look radically different from someone who originates from the region of Fisanduh. Much of the society experienced by Dominian Morozians can be found here and here, but any competent discussion of life on Moroz must be divided into life inside Fisanduh and life outside of Fisanduh.

Life in Dominian-controlled Moroz

The Imperial standard of House Keeser, intended to represent three nation states of old Moroz that formed the basis of the Empire of Dominia.

Life in what is commonly referred to as “Imperial Moroz” by its denizens is typically regarded as the best lifestyle possible in the young Empire of Dominia. These Dominians are wealthy, influential, and stable. Support for the Empire is highest in these regions, due to the wealth and prosperity it has brought to those that reside there. While Fisanduh remains a problem, it is a distant issue in the minds of these Dominians - a background threat that exists in a rump state that is, honestly, not really worth controlling due to the cost involved. Off-world travel is common amongst Imperial Morozians due to their wealth, with many traveling to other colonies of the Empire and a large amount traveling as far afield as Tau Ceti - particularly those associated with the more diplomatically-inclined House Volvalaad. Despite the presence of unathi within the Empire, Moroz remains overwhelmingly human due to its frigid temperatures.

The cities of Imperial Moroz tend to be very heavily developed due to the wealth of the planet, and are connected by the massive Imperial Railway - a construction project of Emperor Keeser during his first years on the throne that is, according to the Empire, one of the largest rail networks outside of the Sol Alliance. These cities are often awe-inspiring, if grandiose, sights to behold with their unique Morozian Deco architecture and wide boulevards dotted with the homes of Moroz’s nobility and commoners. One notable example of this architectural style is the Holy Cathedral of Our Lady the Goddess, the largest Tribunalist church on Moroz. While most assume that Tribunalist churches are built in austere, quasi-Gothic styles the Holy Cathedral was instead built in the Morozian deco style on behalf of its primary sponsor: Empress Lei Keeser.

Despite this opulence, Moroz sees few immigrants due to the authoritarian nature of the Empire of Dominia and immigration standards that have been deliberately designed to make immigration to Moroz without previous proof of familial residence extremely difficult, if not impossible. Some reformist elements wish to make this process easier, but most Dominians are perfectly content to keep the frontier “riff-raff” out of their core worlds.

Imperial Morozian society has been heavily influenced by the Primaries - the nobility of Dominia - and it is seen as very in vogue amongst Secondaries to take a page from the habits of nobility. As a result of this fencing - a traditional pastime of House Volvalaad before the creation of the Empire of Dominia - has become a widespread pastime due to Her Majesty Empress Lei's Royal Fencing Society, which accepts all into its ranks and possess a geneboosted and non-geneboosted league. The Royal Society’s fencers are renowned throughout the Orion Spur, and some joke that the planet’s primary export is slowly becoming fencing experts.

One notable outlier in Imperial Moroz are the Lyodi that make their homes in the frozen wasteland of Lyod, Dominia’s polar ice caps. The Lyodi are hardy survialists that often place themselves outside of “polite society” on Moroz in favour of survival upon the massive ice sheets that make up the poles. The Lyodi are a solitary people that have, due to their inhospitable home, not been brought under the full control of the Empire of Dominia. While some closer to the taiga of the equatorial region consider themselves loyal Imperial subjects (and often integrate into greater Morozian society), the “True Lyodi” (as they call themselves) of the far northern and southern regions are much more independent, and have resisted attempts by the Empire to “civilize” them.

Life in Fisanduh

The red and gold flag of the Confederated States of Fisanduh. Despite its collapse at the conclusion of the War of Moroz, the flag remains a common sight in Fisanduh.

Life in the territory of the former Confederated States of Fisanduh is much less opulent than its counterpart on the outside, but manages to be more free. Decades of war in the period leading up to the ultimate collapse of the Confederated States and its democracy, followed by thirty years of insurgency have done significant damage to Fisanduh despite the thorough contingency plan of the Confederated States known as Plan SCRAM. As a result the standard of living in Fisanduh is less than that in Imperial Moroz, but still decent, while the region lacks the interstellar influence that Imperial Moroz possesses. Despite how dire their situation is, the Fisanduhians of the region remain steadfast in their resolve and unbroken by the Empire of Dominia. However, their daily lives are often taken up by the violence that results from resisting an interstellar power as a mere region of a planet.

Fisanduhians value their freedoms above all else: many are old enough to remember the democratic Confederated States of Fisanduh and the decades-long war waged by its Army to preserve the freedom of Fisanduh at all costs, no matter how steep the bloody price of freedom would be, and the Confederated States never signed a formal peace treaty with the Empire of Dominia. In the minds of many of the citizens of Fisanduh, the war yet marches on - even thirty years after what most Morozians would consider its formal end. The strong ideological foundation of the Confederated States, one forged in the violent fires of war and the struggle to survive against the environment of Fisanduh itself, has persisted in the postwar era despite attempts by the Empire of Dominia to control and dominate Fisanduh.

Due to its position in a very mountainous and cold - by equatorial Moroz standards - region of the planet that never saw combat within its borders before it fell, the cities of Fisanduh - those not destroyed by war, at least - tend to differ from the cities of Imperial Moroz. The former Confederated States of Fisanduh (though it arguably remains the capital in the eyes of Fisanduhians), Neubach, is a good example of this: the city is spread out over a much wider area than other cities on Moroz, and follows a much more utilitarian style of architecture derived the industrial needs of the colony. While the Fisanduhian style is often referred to as “hideous” by many Dominians, Emperor Keeser deliberately kept Neubach intact as a gesture of goodwill towards the region.

The largest resistance movement in Fisanduh is the Fisanduh Freedom Front, often referred to by Dominians as the “Shadow State of Fisanduh.” Created as a result of Plan SCRAM, 3F - as it is often called - is the direct successor state to the government of the Confederated States of Fisanduh. It holds significant sway with the population as a result of this and due to 3F’s consistent adherence to the ideological foundations of the Confederated States such as the democratic process. The leader of 3F is known as the Prime Minister in Exile, but much of the organization itself remains shrouded in mystery due to the secretive nature of both itself and the Empire of Dominia. Rumors of direct and indirect support of 3F by the Coalition of Colonies surround the organization but no formal connections have been established, much to the rumored frustration of Dominia’s admiralty.

Major Settlements

Nova Luxembourg is the crown jewel of the Empire of Dominia and lies nestled in a fairly temperate (by Morozian standards) region. The city’s skyline is dominated by the massive Imperial Palace of Moroz, which towers above other structures within it. The largest temple of the Moroz Holy Tribunal, the Holy Cathedral of Our Lady the Goddess, can be found close to the Imperial Palace, as can the largest chapter of Her Majesty Empress Lei's Royal Fencing Society. Nova Luxembourg is the wealthiest city in the Empire of Dominia, and much of its economy is dedicated to more esoteric pursuits such as art. Poverty has been all but eliminated within its city limits, thanks to the massive charitable efforts undertaken by the well-loved royal family. Outside of the royal family, the House Volvalaad-sponsored Juro School of Genetics and Bio-Sciences can be found in Nova Luxembourg.

Jinxiang is the industrial heartland of Imperial Moroz, and is the historical home of House Zhao. Much of the Imperial Navy’s shipwrights are trained here, and the metropolis is famous throughout the Empire as the “forge of Dominia.” While designed in a more practical manner than the opulently-designed Nova Luxembourg, Jinxiang remains a very wealthy city on Moroz due to its status. The prestigious Royal Naval Academy is located in this city, and many of the Empire’s most well-regarded naval officers - including the current Grand Admiral, Duchess Huiling Zhao - are alumni of it.

Domelkos is the former capital of the Holy Kingdom of Domelkos, one of the three nations that eventually became the modern Empire of Dominia. The city is often regarded as the sister city of Nova Luxembourg due to its similar focus upon the arts, and similarly beautiful surroundings. Many nobles and well-to-do residents of Domelkos partake in outdoor activities such as hunting in the lush and idyllic forests surrounding the city, and the crown prince himself owns a modest hunting lodge outside of the city that he often entertains Imperial Army officers at.

Neubach is the former capital of the Confederated States of Fisanduh, though it has arguably remained the de facto capital of Fisanduh despite efforts by the Empire of Dominia to control it. Located in a relatively flat region of Fisanduh, the city is built more horizontally than vertically and has maintained its status despite the collapse of Fisanduh due to its position in the interior of Fisanduh, the dogged resistance of its citizens to Imperial occupation, and Emperor Keeser’s desire to leave the city intact as a gesture of goodwill to Fisanduh. Neubach is a major regional manufacturing center, and an important rallying point for the people of Fisanduh.