Elysia , officially the Elysian Celestial Empire, is a nation whose territory is located in the North-West sector of space. The Empire is bordered by Nepleslia, the Freespacers and the Mishhuvurthyar, as well as geographically speaking bordering Ayame's Nebula, the largest cluster of black holes in known space, the 'Stars' and Xenn's Expanse.
The Elysian Celestial Empire is an theological aristocratic republic, based around an elected senate with supreme sovereignty. Its political ideology is enormously shaped by its deeply religious mentality, believing in its supremacy, right to all other territory in the universe and vaguely xeno-phobic and highly isolationist stance. It has the fourth-largest economy in the known universe, although its newly colonized system and use of both highly motivated workers (plebeians) and effective slave-labour (Seraph) may see this changing in the immediate future. Its isolationist nature and stance on preserving Elysia's culture means that foreigners are largely not welcome within the empire - requiring previous permission and required to stay in specified locations. Elysia is the joint third largest empire in terms of territory - with five planetary systems, and although dwarfed in term of military power by the Mishhuvurthyar and Yamatai Star Empire remains a local power with increasing military potential.
The Elysian Celestial Empire has a long history and was an independent entity until YE 25 when it was absorbed by Yamatai at the end of the Fourth Elysian War. It regained its independent status in YE 28. In comparison to Earth cultures The Elysian Empire is a product of Ancient Greek and Roman culture with a liberal dose of Judeo-Christianic style monotheism - leading to a slightly arcane style race befitting their common name - 'Angels'. This independence was short-lived though, as the NMX attacks in YE 32 forced the Elysian nation to accept Yamataian authority in exchange for protection.
The Elysians who make up the Empire are composed of three subspecies - the 'Plebeians' whose DNA has been contaminated with human genetic material, the 'Caelisolan' which is intended as the upgrade for the Plebeian's natural bodies, and 'Archangel' which is the pure Elysian - possession of these different bodies is the way to tell between the social classes of the three sub-races - the ruling aristocratic, the meritocratic elite, and the leftover workers. Most notably all Elysians have wings and look rather angelic, though the resemblance grows stronger as you move up the social ladder.
The territory of Elysia consists of five star-systems:
Elysia Novus Contains New Elysia and the city of Empyrean, capital of the empire and the gem in the nations crown.
Veritas A system of gas giants which contains the majority of the empires production facilities and houses a number of space-stations and floating cities, designed to oppose Yamatai.
The history of much the Elysian Celestial Empire and its people is lost to myth and legend - the Elysians are firm believers of their eternal prominence and supremacy and their historic records are highly bias in this regard. However their reliable history begins with 'Elysia' consisted of great floating cities over the surface of Planet Yamatai (then known as Geshrintall). In YE 01 the newly formed Yamatai Star Empire stole the treasured Soul Transfer technology from the Elysians, as part of the ongoing First Elysian War which included the Elysians murdering Emperor Ketsurui Saito and Ketsurui Yuki before being blamed for a PNUgen created virus which killed 20 billion Geshrin in YE 08, and which led to the slaughter of almost all of the Elysians in their homes above Geshrintall and led to many of The Heavens falling from the sky.
After a period of peace the Second Elysian War begins in YE 14 after the Elysians take over Hell, prompting Ketsurui Yui to invade as General of the 2nd Army of the Precious Sword. In YE 15 Yui successfully conquered Hell, and while the Elysians offered a peace treaty Emperor Ketsurui Uesu took advantage of the situation to assassinate the Elysian Emperor (and event which is still held in great resentment by Elysians) followed by the shameful loss of The Heavens by Yui.
In YE 18 the Elysians revamped their space program and moved to New Elysia in a grand exodus, reshaping the planet to please then - typically they tend to ignore this great shame, and embrace New Elysia as their eternal home.
The Fourth Elysian War began in YE 23, which included the destruction of the surface of Damasica by Nariel. In YE 24 Ketsurui Chiharu was captured by Elysia before being liberated, and the 1st Fleet destroyed an Elysian planet on which a massive weapon was being built. Details of this planet, and indeed the weapon, are highly limited and classified. In YE 25 Ketsurui Chiharu was killed above Ralfaris before peace was achieved through the efforts of Shoki, possessed by Chiharu's spirit - Elysia was subsumed by Yamatai.
Independence was secured, somewhat by surprised, in YE 28, leading to the formation of the The Elysian Senate as the administrative body, notably not recreating the position of Emperor. Quickly embracing a policy of scientific expansion and reform Elysia began to fully upgrade its military and in YE 29 colonised three planets to the west using Horizon class colony ships given to them by Yamatai.
After a newfound understanding and brotherhood was established with their old rival, Yamatai, Elysia surprised many by rejoining Yamatai in YE 31.
The Elysian Celestial Empire is an theological aristocratic republic, based around an elected senate with supreme sovereignty - it regards itself as theoretically democratic. The constitution of the Empire is an evolutionary and organic entity, with no fixed composition point but is composed of the religious laws passed down (as they see it) from God, common law dating from time immemorial and the sum product of every motion and law passed by the senate, or back under the old empire by the Emperor. The three areas of government - executive, legislative and judicial are bound into the singular body of the Senate - a group of 501 Patricians elected by Patricians on a constituency basis with a proportional number coming from the military, church and other professions. The senate wields complete sovereignty - it is limited by nothing other than the word of God and can change any law or enter any part of public life. As such the closest thing to a 'Bill of Rights' would be the various Elysian works of faith. While not really having a singular leader the senate is headed by 'God's Justiciar', who primarily serves to ensure that the laws and decisions are in keeping with Gods words and also to ensure proper procedure is adhered to. He is not, however, the face of Elysia in diplomatic proceedings - this falls to one of the Senators with diplomatic and rhetoric training. Perhaps the single most powerful position is the Leader of the War Council, who directs the military senators and has considerable power in this role.
Within the Senate their are several informal groups - not only based on their areas of expertise but also on ideology - those who want war, those who want peace, those who are conservatives and those who are willing to interpret God differently. However by and large the dominance is by socially conservative, politically cautious but scientifically enthusiastic coalitions (exactly how this combination came about is a complex story).
Main Article: List of Articles on Elysian Culture
Elysian Culture is extremely rich, radically different from the cultures of Yamatai or Nepleslia, based upon its different roots and its deeply religious nature.
Elements of this culture is explored here:
Of all the dimensions of Elysian life it is perhaps Religion that is the most important, as their entire outlook on life, their entire culture is based to some degree around their worship of the 'Great Creator'. All Elysians are highly religious, an atheist would not be considered so much as a social outcast but someone who was clearly insane - indeed those few who are atheists do mostly get sent to an insane asylum where they are 'cured'. However this is a very rare event as within Elysian culture there simply is no reason to ever doubt the presence of a divine figure - his work is seen in everything around them.
Their faith is fiercely monotheistic, believing in a single great being who created the universe and everything in it. Vitally they believe that their Heavenly Father gave them custody of the universe, the duty (and right) to administer lesser races, to save them from their own decadent faiths and cultures. Indeed Elysians believe that only Elysians possess 'souls', other races may have an immortal essence but it is like comparing a candle to the sun. It is thus religion with is the basis of the Elysian belief in their own innate superiority, and their right to creation - as well as their ocassionally apparently manic xenophobia.
As befitting a highly religious culture priests serve a vital purpose in society, being figures of awe - it is believed that the higher ranks speak with the authority of God himself (God is always considered as being male), although both males and females are perceived equal in the eyes of the church.
The houses of the God are the temples which are in all settlements of the empire - from house sized buildings with a slowly Parish Priest in a village to the colossal High Temple in Empyrean which houses a part of God himself.
Elysia has a unique form of architecture which is a combination of Classical Architecture and organic smoothness - Elysia long connection with genetic engineering and reliance on organics has imprinted itself of the national mindset, and as such graceful curving lines (not unlike Celtic Artwork) are very common, along with graceful spires - looking upon an Elysian city you might get the impression that straight lines were abhorrent to them.
A plebeians house is likely to be a small and simple thing, although they are normally detached they rarely consist of more than four rooms, although given that Elysia is meritocratic this can change greatly between Plebeians. Even here the Classical feel can be seen through the use of stone whenever possible and a preference for smooth curving lines on decorations such as wallpaper.
It is in the great buildings of the Patricians and the Church, however, that the true splender of Elysian architecture is showcased - in the magnificent pillared villas of the ruling elite, or the great marble temples with organic lines snaking up around colossal columns of marble. The skyline has great spires upheld with delicate looking buttresses - and yet often uses the most advanced of materials. An Elysian city is truly something to be revered.
It should be noted that on the space habitats or space-stations on which a large percentage of the Elysian population live these aesthetics are somewhat sacrificed for function - Elysians are, after all, a practical people - but they tend to have wider than usual corridors to reflect the Elysian love of the out-doors and the open-sky.
The Elysian Language - Seraphim - is one almost uniquely disposed for poetry. An intensely musical and subtle language which carries with it strong overtones of what could be perceived as arcane and almost heavenly its words are unusually open to change through context and carry many double-meanings and the ability to weave complex imagery and metaphors. This is used a great deal by the Patrician elite - one is not considered to be truly cultured if they do not know how to compose at least a basic poem. As such there is a great deal of poetry in Elysia, which unfortunately does not translate very well which means that it has rather low circulation outside of Elysia (not that the Elysians care much - all others are barbarians after all).
While poetry is their favourite medium the Elysians do embrace others - the tragic play as well as the epic poem, the first being more fully explored in the article on Elysian Theater. In their work they love to explore the relationship between God, State and Man - and it is one of the few places where freedom of expression is allowed to embrace what would be considered anti-state and even (to a very limited degree) criticism of God.
Most Patricians write an embellished account of their life in Epic Poetry after they retire. It's seen as a good thing to do with time and a way of ensuring that an individuals Kleos is continued for eternity.
The Elysians pride aesthetics almost anything else, and it is for this reason that many of their number - in particular Patricians - take the vocation as the focus of their life. In particular the Patricians adore making marble statues (which they they coat with a transparent protective surface with the same feel of marble) of various famous or legendary figures in which they combine arch-realism with idealism to create a statute which is unmistakably the person but more heroic and more (to use an Elysian phrase) 'like God intended'.
Beyond sculpture painting and drawing is held to be, if not a full fledged vocation, a very honorable past time in which the aim is to achieve either realism or to get to the 'form' of the subject - to look at the object or persons 'soul' and draw or paint that. Most Elysians, be they plebeian or patrician, having at least basic training in drawing.
One notable factor in all Elysian art is a tendency to sculpt, draw or paint a subject in archaic armour. This occurs in around 50% of cases.
The Elysians practice a great deal of sport, it appealing to their concepts of physical perfection and competition. It is, however, primarily the domain of the Patrician, Plebeians rarely having the time to truly dedicate themselves to a sport - and instead doing it more as a past-time.
Elysian Sports include:
Given the diversity of Elysians this only covers some of the more common sports - it is by no means exhaustive. Notably there are no team-sports, the concept simply doesn't come into the Elysian mentality.
Along with almost every element of Elysian society the education system is divided into two elements – that for the Patrician and that for the Plebeian. They are similar only in that they provide an exceptionally high level of education to those who deserve it, possible only in a structured and paternalistic society like that of the Elysian Celestial Empire. However given that they are separate they shall be treated as such in this article.
Before independence and the establishment of a paternalistic government the education system for Plebeians was singularly lacking – they were, by and large, not considered to be worthy of education unless they had the drive and ability to seek out and persevere in one of the sparse schools. However recent reforms have made school attendance compulsory for all Plebeian children between four and eighteen, and a school has been provided for every area so that all may be within walking distance. However this walking distance may be over two hours in agrarian communities and if pressed the school may provide a bicycle to those families incapable of purchasing one.
The curriculum is established by the state and includes Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Serpahim Literature, Elysian History, Art, Military Tactics, Pankration and of vital significance Religion – taught by the parishes priest. Discipline is exceptionally strict although just - an appeal can easily be brought against the teachers to the local Senator – however those who appeal unjustly are prone to very severe justice. Thanks to the use of ST evidence justice is always found. All teachers have a yearly evaluation to ensure that their teaching is of a sufficiently high standard – again the appeal system secures that this is a largely just system.
For those Plebeians that prove they have not only natural ability but natural inclination there is a two tier schooling system – each year there are tests of the both written, psychological and mental variety which find if there are any worthy of being upgraded to the significantly higher quality school. Conversely the same test is taken within these upgraded schools to discern if the students are still worthy to retain their place. The upgraded schools are referred to as colleges and there is one per constituency – it is boarding and the parents of a child are given compensation equal to the amount of money that the child would be earning (if this if found to be fraudulent the child is confiscated from the parents). The education here is exceptionally intense, enforced by discipline, regular testing and the constant possibility of being ‘sent down’ – not only are the regular subjects studied at a higher level but the students are assigned subjects which suit their abilities best (although personal interest is also taken into account) in order to specialise their abilities.
At the age of 18 the regular students go into apprenticeships in an industry, on an estate or enter military training – it is possible to go straight into work however the Senate is encouraging Plebeians to gain skills in order to make them more than mere menial workers – a position that is filled by the S18. College students can chose between entering into a high-level apprenticeship, plebeian officer training, artisan college, a seminary or to go onto the Academies.
The Academies are the equivalent to universities – they are not bound to constituencies and each has a series of intellectual and psychological (and in some cases physical) tests in order to earn the right to attend – while there is not technically a sliding quality of scale there is a difference in focus between the academies with the more ‘general’ granting a lower level of education. The exception to this rule is Empyrean Academy, which is the apogee of a Plebeians educational potential – the chance to study in the Holy City. Its intake is only 100 a year and each student has complete flexibility in regards to what they wish to study – the Academy itself is a centre of academic research and the tutors are there first and foremost for their own research, and indeed many of them are Patricians. The graduates of the Empyrean Academy are propelled to the top end of Plebeian-level industry, science and the like – and it is a general rule that a graduate of the Academy is likely to gain the right to Patrician status after a few years in their desired profession. Graduates from other academies can chose to go into science, administration, general academia (which is tricky since the government will not sponsor you) the military (although it is often thought their intellectual gifts will be wasted) or join the Advisors of the War Counsel which is the highest position of a tactically gifted Plebeian. The time students spend in the Academy varies – a normal course lasts three years, after which the government will no longer provide maintenance for studies which do not further its interests, however others can last up to seven years.
Another option for the intellectually gifted Plebeian is to go into religious training in one of the seminaries where they are taught theology – many consider this to be the ultimate intellectual exercise – and depending on their vocation the skills needed to be ‘shepherd’ of the people.
It should be noted that anything less than complete devotion to the state at any point in these tests is prone to have you sent to the lowest rung of the ladder, or indeed be ‘purified’ by treatment at a mental hospital.
There are no laws regarding the education of Patricians, however there are customs which are shared by the majority of the population.
A Patrician child is normally raised by a gifted Plebeian from the ages of two to twelve who provides the fundamental elements of the education – this is often the choice of an academic Plebeian since the Senate will not sponsor independent research on issues it does not consider to be completely necessary. As such a great number of historians and the like end up as scholars to Patrician children. At the age of twelve they are sent to one of the great Academies where they study under one of the Patrician adepts of their field as well as being educated in the art of rhetoric – or they can go to a Pankration establishment, although the two are not completely mutually exclusive. Here the standard of teaching tends to be higher than for the Colleges of the Plebeians, although discipline is less rigorous – instead the natural pride, confidence and drive of a Patrician to excel in life and their field of interest is relied upon – normally to great effect. Pankration, as ever, is considered to be a significant part of the course. At 18 they can chose to either continue at one of the great Academies or to enter into the military (although it is possible to enter into the military later) at which point they go onto the fast track course of physical and tactical training which after three years is considered to make them competent leaders – although all officers in the ECN are required to study on a consistent basis to improve themselves. It is also possible for the Patrician to enter into the religious life to become a priest of the higher order in one of the religious seminaries or at a temple.
Although a great deal less formal than the Plebeian system there are two apogees of education – the Empyrean Academy (separate from the Plebeian version) and the High Temple. The first has an intake of the one hundred most intellectually gifted Patricians and provides them with the greatest level of education possible in the Empire, and the High Temple (for priests) gives them the chance to learn and worship in the place where Gods essence lies.
Given that the Elysian Celestial Empire is an almost completely state run enterprise it is understandable that it has a welfare system, however given its exceptionally meritocratic belief system and the idea that to support people unduly is morally wrong this expresses itself in a rather complex manner.
In the Elysian mind there is the ‘deserving’ and the ‘undeserving’ poor – the first has been rendered poor by events not of his or her own making, the second through a mistake or inefficiency on their part. An example of the first would be an orphan or the elderly, an example of the second someone who has simply been careless with their funds or has reached their situation through some moral failing. The ‘undeserving’ simply do not deserve any degree of benevolence from the state.
The deserving poor are brought to a position where the meritocratic nature of reality should begin to provide for them.
See also: Elysian Rank System
The Social Structure of Elysia is divided in a very certain manner - between the ruling elite, the Patricians, and the Plebeians which make up the majority of the population. Over these are the mysterious and almost God-like Paragon's.
Making up the majority of the population of the Empire the Plebeians are the 'ordinary' person, the masses. It is not only a social position, but also a race - long ago Elysian DNA was contaminated to various degrees by interbreeding with Humans. A Plebeian is seen as socially, politically and spiritually lesser than a Patrican (although still infinitely more than an outsider). Most Plebeians live in the country-side and small rural communities, or in industrial centres and despite their bad press do not actually live in poverty. Relative to a Patrician they live a fairly pitiful existence, but almost none live in total poverty - only some in relative. They all have enough food to eat, water drink and are given education and jobs - unemployment is all but unheard of. That being said they are the manual work force on which the whole of Elysia is based - either they or the S18's do all the 'productive' work.
In Elysian society there is a partition between the Plebeians and Patricians - the Plebeians get one standard of jobs, health service, education and prospects, while the Patricians get another. Despite this almost all Plebeians are content with their position - not only are they born to it, their faith and honour system tells them that it is a sin to be envious and an honour to serve - they have a deep understanding of different roles in society. This is not to say their is a glass ceiling - it is possible for a Plebeian to become a Patrician through exceptional hard work, marked by the transfer from a Plebeian to a Patrician body.
The Patrician is a social group, not a sub-species - which is technically 'Archangel' - although the two are only ever found together. There are no Patrician archangels and and Plebeian Patricians. The Patricians form the intellectual, artistic and military elite within Elysian society - they are the best at what they do and are seen as the appointed lords of the Plebeians in their religion. Due to the plebeians doing most of the day to day work for the Patricians are able to dedicate themselves to furthering themselves and refining their intellect - much like the philosopher kings of Plato's republic.
The Patrician symbolise everything that is best in society, and get everything the best - they are by far the wealthiest group of Elysians and live in grand villas, with far better education, health care and so forth. The dice are stacked in the Patricians favour, but no Elysian would complain about it.
As Patrician is to Plebeian, Paragon is to Patrician - but more so. It is the ultimate term of respect and the highest social grouping - a group so selective that there are only two or three at any one time. To earn such a title is not simply enough to have material wealth, but great heroic actions to your name - you must be a living legend. These men and women are treated with utmost reverence by Patricians and treated by Gods on earth by Plebeians - the practical power that a Paragon has (if he or she choses to exercise it) is enormous.
Elysia prides itself with being almost entirely self sufficient, all of its major industries are operated by the state or the great Patrician families (which at some point becomes much the same thing), and the Empire has almost no net imports or exports - apart from the occasional exportation of fine Elysian Wine, a beverage of such scarcity and quality that its mere possession by a non-Elysian can be considered a mark of status. There have been some in Elysia who suggest that greater exportation may be a possibility in the future.
The Industrial Centre of the Empire is located in and around the gas giants of Veritas which contain enormous shipyards processing the matter from the planets and the surrounding meteors within the belts and the Oort Belt and Kepler Cloud. It is these facilities which produce the majority of the ships and materials for the Empire. The new colony worlds are currently focusing on establishing sustainable settlements but will begin large scale mining and manufacturing within the next few months. On New Elysia the majority of food for the population is grown in the countryside or in the great hydroponics bays which are built under the surface of the earth. There are also substantial production facitilies to produce sufficient supplies and equipment for Elysia Novus in an emergency - currently it simply supports Veritas.
A large proportion of the Patricians that live on New Elysia, as well as the Plebeains live in the country - the Patricians as the landowners and the Plebeians working the land in various ways. Through a combination of cattle and cereals they produce the more expensive food for the nation, and until recently this was where all the food came from - the inadequacies of the system leading to widespread undernourishment amongst the Plebeians.
However a recent scheme is the Aferis project which is designed to create Psomi, an engineered food, to feed the population and to ensure that even in war they need not suffer as they did in the last four.
Elysia is, by and large, isolationist. Its history as being a conquered nation, combined with a history of people (i.e. Yamatai Star Empire) stealing its technology makes it highly reluctant to allow others to have any perceived power over it or to allow others access to its technology. However it has recently made a strong alliance with Yamatai Star Empire to ensure its existence against the vastly expanding Nepleslia.
Elysia is defended by the Star Army of Yamatai.
As with much else in Elysian society the health service is two tiered - with a different system for the Plebeians and the Patricians. This is not to say that the Plebeians are ill treated, but the work ethic of the Elysian people means that then habitually oppose those who are seen as 'scrounging' off the state, those who are trying to escape work and so forth. In particular they think that a good Elysian should continue to work with most ailments - unless it is contagious, life-threatening or seriously inhibits their ability to work a Plebeian is likely to be turned away from a health centre. They have the resources to treat them - but they believe that doing so will lead to a weakening of the Elysian people. This unfortunatly keeps many Plebeians in a fairly retched state, but means that they don't die particularly often. It is possible for a sufficiently wealthy Plebeian to purchase better quality health care.
The Patricians on the other hand have a health service which puts other cultures to shame - not so much that other cultures don't have the technology but that they rarely focus on such an elite. A Patrician can expect immediate care, complete coverage, everything from body transfer to genetic modification free of charge (rarely done due to Elysians strange distaste in genetically modifying their own bodies). They are not treated in hospitals (far too large), instead in private clinics run by Patricians, for Patricians.
Due to a combination of these factors there are no endemic diseases on Elysia, and indeed when a new strain of bacteria or virus is found a counter-virus with vaccine is often released, abolishing it from the population.
Soul Transfer Back-ups are available to all Patricians and all Plebeians in dangerous work.