The Cursed Darkness - Katelyn - Encyclopaedia
Ages ago, man had created a vast and powerful civilization that spanned a thousand worlds. Then something catastrophically bad happened, the exact details of which have been lost over time. What is known is that man nearly became extinct as the result of a horrific accident. Only one world on the edge of the ancient civilization, called Iberia by its inhabitants, was spared this disaster. Seeking to capitalize on the fear and horror felt by the survivors of this catastrophe, the ancient religions declared the disaster to be the gods’ justice and channeled people’s fear into hate. Iberia slid into a long, dark period of war that destroyed the gleaming cities and the knowledge held within them, returning man to a simpler, harsher way of life.
As man emerged from the thousand year long dark age, he began to embrace science once more. Regaining the ability to travel between the stars, he quickly began repopulating the old worlds. Ruins were discovered on these old worlds, yielding strange and unusual artifacts. So much science and history was lost in the dark ages that man can only guess at the purpose of these artifacts, let alone understand the basic principles upon which they operated. Artifacts are highly valued by the scientific community and private collectors alike. The current lack of spending by the four nations on exploration has created a lucrative market for private artifact hunters.
The Four Nations
Known space is dominated by four powerful nations: the Brittanic Alliance, the Carolingian Empire, the Iberian Federation, and the United Republics. An uneasy peace currently exists between the four nations.
Britannic Alliance – An alliance of four states spanning ten heavily populated worlds. The Britannic Alliance started the practice of sponsoring privateers during the last war, which does not make the Alliance popular with the other nations.
Carolingian Empire – The Empire is headquartered on the first planet re-colonized after man’s return to the stars.
Iberian Federation – The Federation consists of the original states on Iberia and the colonies in her solar system. With the oldest and most developed civilization and with control over a large number of rich colonies, the Iberian Federation is very powerful both economically and militarily.
United Republics – Consists of seventeen small colonies whose territory borders the Carolingian Empire. Once part of the Iberia federation, the seventeen planets rebelled and won their freedom in a war of succession. The Republics have maintained careful neutrality in the one hundred years since separating from the Iberian Federation. The seventeen republics have a very strong space navy.
The numerous small settlements on rich and unexploited planets in neutral territory are frequently referred to as The Colonies. Some of these colonies are not aligned with any of the four nations, making them natural havens for pirates.
Port-Royale – The largest of the Brittanic Alliance’s colonies. The Alliance turned Port Royale into the unofficial home port for its unofficial privateering fleet during the war. Port Royale was a natural choice for this since the Colonial Governor was already known for turning a blind eye to criminal behavior. With the coming of the privateering fleet, it wasn’t long before Port Royale fairly seethed with pirates, crooks, cons, fences, and all sorts of felons and adventure seekers. The Governor doesn’t mind, so long as taxes are properly paid.
Nombre De Dios – The settlements on this colonized planet were destroyed by the Britannic Alliance during the last war and are currently being rebuilt.
Belize – In Iberian space, was captured by the Alliance during the last war.
Of Space Pirates and Privateers
The vastness of space and the heavy shipping between the settled worlds and the colonies provides a natural hunting ground for space pirates. Several colonies offer friendly havens for pirates.
The Brittanic Alliance started the practice of legalized piracy against the Iberian Federation during the war as a way of engaging in asymmetric warfare against their supply lines. Armed with a license from the Alliance, a pirate captain can plunder Iberian, Carolingian, and United Republic’s ships and colonies to his heart’s content, secure in the knowledge that he can find safety in Alliance space. This protection only lasts as long as the captain pays the Alliance a share of his plunder. If caught by one of the other three governments, most privateers are treated to the same swift justice as a common pirate. The most notorious privateers might find themselves used as bargaining chips between the nations or might be given a job offer they can’t refuse.