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robes of the imperium

The three planets, Irusaq, Nrat-Tuan and Iboriis orbit two stars: the F5-type Voidstar, a bit brighter than our sun- more like Sirius, and a small red star, about 1/5 the size of our sun, known on Irusaq as Inturan, The Jewels eye, and on Iboriis, as Iisa, The Womb of the Wave Stone.

Robes of the Imperium

Irusaq and Nrat-Tuan orbit the Voidstar 150 million miles out, and are relatively unaffected by Inturan.Their years are the equivalent to two Earth years, otherwise their climates are very similar to ours. Iboriis, on the other hand, orbits the red star erratically in a two-month year, which varies from extremely hot summers and very cold winters, to mild winters and very cold summers, depending on the relative positions of the planet and the two stars. This is called the Wave-Cycle and repeats in its entirety every 27 two-month years  or about 5 years of our time. [My son Dr Eric Roche worked out the astronomy to my requirements, I couldn’t have done it myself.]

It is this cycle which causes such havoc with the Iboriisi seasons, so that weather prediction is almost impossible, and life is extremely hard.

The original inhabitants of Nrat-Tuan developed [or brought with them from their original home planet], efficient and fast space travel, so that communication between planets became firmly established, although its mechanism was kept secret by the Nrati-Tuan until the time [somewhere in the 13th Century] when they decided to leave their water-covered planet and seek their Wave-Dance religion elsewhere, leaving the information about many aspects of their technology to the government of the Imperium.

The Nrati-Tuan, being a water-dwelling race who suffered land sickness, had terraformed their planet to suit their needs. They warmed polar ice and kept their living conditions flooded, mined and farmed the waters for minerals and food, and kept down the vast numbers of indigenous reptiles. Once they left, the planet reverted to its ancient form: the waters receded, dry land increased, poles cooled, and the reptiles bred without restriction. And above all, Nrat-Tuan became open to migration.

The Iboriisi, who had originally been dangerous dissidents on Irusaq banished in antiquity, now rushed to migrate. They had finally been accepted into the Imperium in the 6th Century, and it was then still considered wise to keep a watch on them, at the same time as using their warlike abilities to act as trainers for the army etc. On Iboriis everything worn or carried by man, woman or child is a weapon. They are regarded as violent and extremely dangerous, not only because of their bloodthirsty Bird God religion, in which sacrificial victims are killed and thrown to giant birds, in order to predict the seasons by the arrangement of the devoured bones, but also for their practice of “Stranger Gift,” in which unwary strangers are given to the giant Birds as a special treat.

It is very dangerous to go to Iboriis.

However, in the 13th Century Nrat-Tuan was considered far enough away for the Imperium to sanction Iboriisi migration. It was understood that survival there would keep the migrants well and truly occupied, and therefore pose no real danger to Irusa.

The rush to migrate coincided with a terrible virus which began to decimate the giant Birds, and which led to considerable social and religious change. Huge numbers of inhabitants left for the better climate of Nrat-Tuan, to begin a new and exciting life, leaving their fellows behind to survive however they could in the new conditions.

Meanwhile, on Irusaq the existing two cultures, the Irusaqi and the Forest People – reclusive Forest dwellers who held a monopoly on trade in dyestuffs and medicinal drugs - found that they were not alone. Exploration had already opened up the far North of Irusaq, where the Deep Fisher people lived and survived in the tundra, and who became major exporters of fish – a timely replacement for the Nrat-Tuan suppliers who were no longer there. But the discovery of the great and ancient city of Ssisao changed history. At first the Imperium refused to believe that a sophisticated city could have existed for centuries without being known to the Imperium government, but finally, after years of diplomatic discussion, Ssisao was accepted into the Imperium as an equal partner, thus opening up trade routes and exchanging knowledge to the benefit of both. The great distance between the cities of Intun and Ssisao also benefited the accord.

Miniature robes from the archives of the imperium

The Great Court of the Imperium consists of a large body of delegates from the three planets, presided over by an elected head. Irusaqi custom dictates procedure, and delegates from other cultures tend to follow Irusaq proper in the matter of ceremonial Robes, with the exception of the people of Ssisao, the most recent entry into the Imperium; and claimed to be the oldest city in the world. The Robe worn by an Irusaqi delegate to the Council symbolises his/her role in society. Each Robe is individually designed for its wearer, and at the same time an identical miniature copy is made, to be stored permanently in the Archives. When the wearer either dies or relinquishes office the Robe itself is destroyed, leaving only the miniature: which is what you see in this gallery.