The Isolated World of Damocles: A Legacy of Noble Clans and Forgotten Origins

At the edge of the galaxy, Damocles has remained isolated from the Supreme Empire for at least two millennia. During this period, clans of noble warriors clashed for power and honor. The origins of the first humans on this planet, as well as their technological level at the time, remain shrouded in mystery. Only legends persist, and in the common parlance of this world, expressions drawn from ancient wars are still used. For the most part, their origins, as well as their deeper meanings, are lost today.

The planet was rediscovered just over 800 years ago by smugglers seeking a quiet relay for their illegal trade with the non-humans inhabiting this region of the universe. They discovered a complex and codified society, from the warrior aristocracy to the pariahs of the mountains, each having a harmonious role in maintaining balance. At least, that was the appearance. These cunning men quickly found ways to integrate, respecting the codes to better circumvent the rules, much like almost all other inhabitants of Damocles.

Lands of Conflict and Survival

The geography and society of the time are known to us through their travel diaries. Dominated by warrior clans in all the fertile parts along the coasts, its mountains sheltered outlaws, the banished, and those who had chosen this life. They survived by selling ore and protecting, when not attacking, commercial caravans heading towards the central plains. The less fertile central plains were the domain of various sects that created veritable states, constantly struggling for hegemony. Sometimes a beleaguered warrior clan would settle there temporarily to regain strength before attempting to reclaim their place on the coasts.

Further south, the long desert peninsula of Akasuna is inhabited by the Firstborn and their immortal kings. A group of disparate ethnicities claiming descent from the planet's original inhabitants. Their tall, slender physique indeed contrasts with that of the other, more robust inhabitants. Their strange cults heavily feature human sacrifices. It is claimed that they master the transfer of vital flows, which they trade with malevolent aliens in exchange for sophisticated weapons.

Foreign Influence and the Rise of Celestial Cults in Damocles

Initially, the arrival of the strangers did not upset the balance of Damocles. They established trading posts in the south of the central plains, showering the surrounding sects with alien artifacts to maintain good relations. They were content to refuel their ships and trade with the planets of the empire. Over time, the strange trinkets became holy relics for which the sects fought, and the cults that emerged from them spread to the coastal cities. A few centuries later, when the first representatives of the celestial peacekeepers set foot on Damocles, the fruit was ripe for the picking.

In less than a generation, they united most of the sects into three complementary paths. They initiated the creation of a council of clans, giving diplomacy a chance to resolve conflicts. After establishing a clergy of the celestial voice to dominate all sects, they used their technology to extract iron and other rare metals with drones. In a few years, the former pariahs became merchants, managing mines and other automated industries on behalf of the guardians. One might think that their sole objective was the exploitation of the planet's resources. In any case, this new merchant aristocracy mingled with the old, with clans now vying for control of the mines as much as for the fertile plains.

Transformation into a Galactic Commercial Powerhouse

In a few decades, the planet evolved from a logistical platform to a commercial center. Many foreigners from the empire came to procure stylized copies of alien artifacts produced on-site. The guardians themselves became discreet. Their control was assured by the clergy of the celestial path and their fanatical servants, equipped with the most technologically advanced weapons. Their presence became increasingly rare as their nation lost battles against the human empire, and soon they were nothing but a legend.

However, their technology persisted. And the fervent members of the clergy continued to innovate, drawing inspiration from the empire's productions or the esoteric technologies brought by the aliens that the barbarians of the south encountered.

The Tumultuous Invasion & Shifting Alliances

But this era of prosperity could not last forever. If it had remained an insignificant planet, the Supreme Empire might have ignored it for a few more millennia. But success breeds envy. Many wealthy families from neighboring planets of the empire joined forces to request authorization and support from the imperial forces for the conquest of Damocles. And they were satisfied. Bringing their contingents together, they prepared for the invasion.

The landing was chaotic. The clergy, forewarned of the invasion, deployed terrible weapons that destroyed most of the regular army's transport ships and its communication system, thus cutting the planet off from the rest of the galaxy for centuries. The smaller invasion ships of the foreign nobles mostly managed to land. Where they landed, they fought the clans facing them in a completely disorganized manner. Some forces were immediately swept away, while others, more significant and better organized like the Lioners, destroyed several clans and built the largest kingdom.

Less powerful but more cunning, the Swolfs played on the rivalry between clans to eliminate them to their advantage and create a network of alliances. For if at first the Damoclean clans had united against the invaders, the invaders, once established, also entered the local game of alliances.

The heroic resistance of the last staunch defenders of the ancient order was swept away with chemical bombardments in the mountains, and most of the surviving independent clans pledged allegiance to the Supreme Empire. They thus kept their lands and rank. Rivalries persisted, would be reborn, but they would wait until the end of the great war.

The forces of the clergy, seemingly intact, had used most of their resources in the destruction of the coalition fleet. The sects of the three sacred paths sacrificed a large number of followers to slow down and exhaust the alliance, mainly foreign, led by the Lioners against the religious center of the celestial path. Even more died defending the places...

To protect its advanced technology, the clergy fled to a location still secret today. Even if on rare occasions they launch precise raids to recover an artifact, to assassinate a noble, or for some other mysterious reason, they leave no trace other than legends about their destructive weapons, and their sophisticated equipment making them invisible, bulletproof, or both at the same time, depending on the version.

Rise of the Swolfs

The alliance of foreign and Damoclean clans rallied, led by the Swolfs, launched its attack on the descendants of the smugglers and other outlaws, who had settled on the strip of land connecting the desert south to the rest of the continent. Fleeing into the desert to launch counterattacks at opportune moments, in an environment they mastered, the Saurians, as they call themselves, held off an army ten to fifteen times their number in size for several years, depending on the period. Finally, the Swolfs managed to rally the Firstborn. Cornered, the Saurians fired until their last bullet, and exhausted the last drop of fuel from their semi-alien weapons and vehicles, which they had repaired hundreds of times. After their surrender, a large number were deported to Swolf territory, where they pay tribute by fighting as elite combatants. The entire planet was then subdued for a time.

But nature has reclaimed its rights. Isolated from the rest of the galaxy, between two council meetings, the clans regularly engaged in skirmishes and power plays, their ancient feuds and new-found alliances simmering beneath a deceptive calm. The landscape of Damocles, once marred by the scars of war, began to witness a resurgence of wild, untamed forces, reshaping the planet in ways unforeseen.

An uncertain future, the Shifting Sands of Power on Damocles

In the midst of this chaotic rebirth, the Verdant Stranglehold, a mysterious and aggressive forest, continued its relentless expansion. Born from the remnants of the chemical bombardments, it grew with a voracious appetite, swallowing whole territories and transforming the geography of conflict. The forest, with its sentient trees and lethal flora, became a no-man's land, a barrier that neither the Swolfs nor any other faction could penetrate or tame.

Meanwhile, the clergy, having retreated to their hidden sanctum, became the stuff of legend. Their sporadic raids, executed with precision and leaving behind no trace but awe and fear, reminded all of Damocles of their lingering presence and power. The technology they possessed, advanced beyond the understanding of most, became a coveted treasure, sparking intrigue and greed among the various factions.

The Saurians, now relegated to the role of elite mercenaries in Swolf territory, harbored a simmering resentment. Their once-proud lineage, now serving those they deemed unworthy, fueled a silent, growing desire for rebellion. In the shadows, they began to forge new alliances, their knowledge of the desert and guerrilla tactics making them invaluable in the ever-shifting landscape of power.

As the planet spun on, the remnants of the Supreme Empire's influence waned. The once-mighty coalition that had subdued Damocles fractured, giving way to a fragile balance of power. The Swolfs, despite their cunning and strategic alliances, could not maintain their dominance indefinitely. New factions rose from the ashes of the old, and the Firstborn, with their claims of ancient lineage and mysterious powers, began to assert their influence more boldly.

In this era of uneasy peace and hidden turmoil, the council meetings became a theater of diplomacy and deception. Each clan, each faction, vied for control, their ambitions as vast as the stars themselves. The Verdant Stranglehold, ever-expanding, served as a constant reminder of the planet's wild heart, a force that could not be controlled or contained.

Damocles, a world of warriors, outlaws, and mystics, continued its dance of power and survival. The stories of its people, their triumphs and tragedies, wove into the fabric of a planet that refused to be tamed, a world where the only certainty was the unexpected. As the skies slowly began to open once more, the question on every mind was the same: What future awaited Damocles as it reconnected with the galaxy at large? The answer, like the planet itself, remained a mystery, full of potential and peril.