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The Sulmites

The Sulmites are a molluscoid species, arisen from the damp rivers and shores of their ocean world named Sulm. It is unknown whether the planet was named for the species, or the other way around. But nevertheless, the Sulmites have risen to glory from the primordial sludge. (Molluscoid, Ocean Preference)

From time immemorial, Sulmites have been obsessed with their species' version of a voice. The Sulmites produce their language using a combination of the flutters of their leafy molluscoid "ears", as well as the slapping of their four short tentacles, known as radula, located on their neck. It is a quiet sound, much like the lapping of a calm lake shore. Many species would find it pleasing, even if they had no idea of what was being said. (Charismatic)

Before the advent of digital communication, the Sulmites gathered quite near together to hold conversation. There was no such thing as a "shout". A good Sulmite speaker is one who has mastered the crisp flicker of their ears, and the wet padding of their neck-tentacles, to make sounds as sweeping as a billowing breeze. Indeed, it is often in the mastery of the sonar of their speech, rather than the points made therein, that leads one Sulmite to be convinced of another's ideals. (Conformists)

Their characteristic obsession with the voice is amplified by their short lives. It is an eternal Sulmite yearning to make their impact on history, on culture, and on sciences, before their quick lives have run their course. A lifetime for one born of Sulm lasts less than eighty years. Eight short decades with which to learn, to serve, to mate, and to make an impression upon the next generation of Sulmites. (Fleeting)

The Parents and Children of Sulm

As for their reproduction, Sulmite females produce eggs, which if fertilized grow into larvae. Since civilized times began these larvae have been incubated in common by their community, requiring little intervention from the mother herself. This has afforded greater liberty and equality to the women in Sulmite society, especially mothers, as pregnancy is quite short.

As the species evolved over millennia, the Sulmites began to suffer a reproductive curse, as the women produced fewer and fewer fertilized larvae, and only later and later in life. Perhaps this is due to a changing in the tides, or due to some genetic quirk. The Sulmite reproductive window has thus shrunk to only a brief stint in their sixties. As such, they have a similar reproductive pace to humans, although having children only when they are elders.

The connection between Sulmite mates is deep, often being a burning passion that lasts the entirety of their lives. Sulmites have mandatory marriage customs, in which each individual must pledge a heroic act of duty, usually military service, in order to gain lawful assent to bear children. Terms of service are between ten and thirty years, accordingly to the glory won thereby. This has been an aspect of the reigning Sulmite society for thousands of years, and the dangling of love on the precipice of death is thought to be responsible for the military success of their society. (Warrior Culture)

It is a rare practice for a Sulmite woman to raise her own larvae. The practice of private rearing is taboo, as due to their very late fertility, when the children become but twenty years old, both parents have likely already passed away. This is the sadness that all Sulmite adults bear, to have only known their aged parents for two decades before their passing.

Sulmites mate decades before the children are actually born, the woman storing the genetic data of the male for as long as forty years before the female chooses whether to use those genes to fertilize her eggs. Due to their reproductive difficulties, this is aided with the usage of hormones to either implant or discard a male's genetic code. Often, such decisions are made in fertility clinics, in the presence of both the potential mother and father.

Often the father- and mother-to-be will secretly mate in advance of the father's legal service. In such cases where a father-to-be mates, and then goes off to die in war, his genetic code is somberly flushed by the woman through use of hormones. Rarely a Sulmite woman will choose to bear the children of a deceased father, although this is strictly against Sulmite virtue. It is more acceptable to find a new, living mate who has won their right to procreate in earnest. (Wasteful)

Sulmite children are raised in common from the instant they are born as larvae. They are taught to compete against each other in grand gymnasiums, and to speak eloquently in academic symposiums. In this way, they overcome the weakness of their origins, and gain the insight of thousands of generations of Sulmite culture. (Weak, Nationalistic Zeal)

The War Council of the Symposium of Sulm

Despite the militancy of the Sulmite state, it is also characterized by its positive yearning for the unknown. It is motivated to fill the gaps in its knowledge, to amass national wealth, to live and die for passions, and to ultimately meet and absorb neighboring empires. Through its history, the ultimate hegemonic empire of Sulm arose through warfare, but also through the trade and exchange of material and assimilation of ideas. Successful ideas were adopted wherever they were found, by force if necessary, and thereby brought benefit to the greater civilization. (Xenophile)

The Sulmite government is organized in a grandiose War Council. The seats within this governing body are exchanged four times in a generation, for the Sulmites, this means once every twenty years. A seat in the council is a highly sought-after position, one which only arises a few times in a lifespan. Chairship is only given to Generals, or nowadays, even Admirals of the budding stellar navy.

Within the chambers of the Council, the Sulmites wax poetic about the ruin of nations, the unification of the planet, and the furthering of the Sulmites towards the stars. Only a few fringe nations remain, and those are soon to come into the fold by overwhelming force. But this is their fault, as the Council would be more than pleased were their foes to lay down their arms and surrender.

These councilors each bear badges of the Symposium of Sulm, the newborn name for the top echelon of their empire. On the badge is a metallic engraving of a squid, emerging from the inky darkness below into a sky of crimson above. These councilors are crowded closely together, in huddles of dozens, such is the quietness of their language.

The councilors' low lyrics are easily silenced by the landing thrusters of an aerial craft on a landing bay outside of the reinforced glass windows. It would seem the new Warlord of this budding stellar empire has finally arrived. The woman Sler'huss, first Warlord of this new super-nation that encompasses all of Sulm. Grand Mother of the nation, they call her, for all of Sulm rests in her hands.

She strides into the chamber, the scars of war apparent on her features. Along the left side of her face is one long jagged shrapnel scar, accentuated further by blast marks. During the unification wars, as it is told, Sler'huss was marked during an assault on a hold-out nation of Sulmites. Those fallen Sulmites held the dictatorship of their Warlord to be supreme and incontestable to challenge, while Sler'huss fought on the side of the oligarchs. Ultimately, Sler'huss and the broader powers prevailed.

As result of that triumph, the powers of the Sulmite Warlord are held in check by the oligarchs. While military decision-making is left to the Warlord, it is not without the added consequence of being removed, or even sentenced criminally, by the oligarchical council if their agreement is not gained.

The role of Warlord, ultimately, is to be the final decision-maker. After listening to the whispering of the councilors, Sler'huss is to plot the general will of all the peoples of Sulm. It is a lofty, if impossible task. There will always be some who disagree. But the Sulmites are a conventional species, more likely to fall in line than to challenge one another. Especially so in the era of final unification.

May this new star era begin.
 
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PossessedLemon

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The first Warlord of the Symposium of Sulm had a vision for her kind's destiny. The ravaged ruins of Sulm were in the process of being rebuilt and re-forged into a more efficient form. At the request of the councilors, starships had been created. Named as "Locutors", these ships were to announce the presence of the Sulmites among the galaxy. There was no turning back, no retreating to the primordial ooze from which life on Sulm had emerged. Their destiny now was among the stars.

tym system.JPG

The Sulmite Solar System

Before the unification wars, the nations had established remote stations on some of the celestial bodies in their home solar system. These stellar stations were quite easily assimilated, their Sulmite hosts more than willing to bring their faculties into the fold as the reigning empire clashed against all opposition.

One such station was on Strand, a mineral planet where raw matter could be harvested in great quantity. Some resources here were rarely found on Sulm, and despite the great distance and difficulty of space transport, the station there made Sulm more prosperous and industrious.

Another was on Gorgon, a gas giant primarily used for testing the properties of rare matter under nonstandard conditions. This had come from a sub-culture of Sulmites more interested in research than warfare.

In addition to a solar station at the sun, which the Sulmites knew as Tym, or "Time", there was another power station upon the molten world mythically known as Sagyr. Sulmite legend told that in this red-hot planet burned the being Sagyr, a giant who once was spurned by a lover, and cast out into the stars in solitude, where they brooded for all eternity. Of course, when the planet was scouted, it was obvious that it was merely a chunk of molten rock too close to the sun, but the name has always persisted for the Sulmite's love of tales.

Another planet, this one frozen, was named Kilik, after the lover from the same tale. This giant was unnaturally cold-hearted, and ignored Sagyr's courtship, which lasted for centuries. When time came for Kilik to finally mate, she moved away from Sagyr and instead mated with the much larger and brighter Kolak. Kolak is now known to be a gas giant around which Kilik orbits.

While the Sulmites are not a superstitious species, service upon either the energy stations of Sagyr or the ice mines of Kilik are equally foreboding on one's relationship. As Sulmites earn the right to mate through terms of service, those who opt for non-military service upon these two star stations often cannot escape a feeling of dread for loss of one's own relationship while among the stars. It is a popular cultural trope in Sulmite stories for a character in romance to return home from Kilik or Sagyr, to find that one's partner has met a superior mate in their absence.

Research in the Unification Era

Sulmites are not characterized for their scientific expertise, but nevertheless there are sub-cultures within the species who find the discovery of the unknown to be more exciting than earning the right to mate, or to feel the thrill of battle. Rare are the Sulmite researchers, who exist in a relative calm and balance. To them, their battles are to be won in the laboratory, against the enemy which is the unknown.

Of the foremost researchers of this time, there is Sler'vus, an expert in particle science. He was funded by the war council to further develop laser weaponry, which proved to be key to the conquest of Sulm. Where the reigning empire was at times outmatched by other nations in terms of sheer numbers of arms, they had the upper hand in terms of technological supremacy. This, the Sulmite councilors, intended to continue to pursue even in the peaceful moment of unification.

Next was Nahell, a social researcher. Thought to be insane to some, he explored topics thought incomprehensible or off-limits to researchers of the past. To Nahell, an unanswered riddle was one that demanded attention. They were more than capable of convincing their fellow researchers to follow suit. The council supported and funded their insights into what this new, unified society would become.

Lastly, but not the least, was Dov'bah. This researcher had climbed the ranks rather quickly, as much by the academic void left behind in the area of industrial sciences by the collapse of lesser nations, as by his own quickness to adapt. They pursued mastery in all areas of material studies, and were supported by the council in researching tougher starship construction patterns.

Thus the path was set, one which would take several years to discover.

The first exploration vessel, the Locutor Si'Orth, left the solar system and in doing so its crew became the first Sulmites to ever go so far from home. The Locutor's primary researcher, Sler'gah, was a highly regarded researcher of unknown phenomena. She was doubtless the most worthy Sulmite to ever have such an honor.

The council spoke of crafting another exploration vessel, as the universe was vast and very dark and unknown. Warlord Sler'huss assented forthwith to a second vessel.

Construction in the Unification Era

On the planet Sulm, space had been freed by the eradication of some of the most indignant nations during the period of unification. Most of the Sulmites within those nations had, of course, fled and assimilated as refugees, and a relative small number were forced to death. However the bombed-out ruins and abandoned oceanscapes required a new purpose in this new system of singular organization. Plans were drafted to construct immense holo-theatres, where duelists would compete for fame, and it was being considered, also the right to bear children.

It was still debated what the purpose of such a strong military could be as unification drew to a close. In order to ease the pressure, grand coliseums would be built, thunder-domes for the Sulmites to engage in less-lethal combat as a means of retaining as much military expertise and spirit as possible from this era of total unification. The councilors feared most that their kind would forget how to fight, if ever their arms were lowered for peace too long.
 
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PossessedLemon

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Gothra System

The crew of Locutor Si'Orth arrived in the Gothra system, and in doing so became the first Sulmites to ever go beyond the gravity of their home star. The system had gas giants, and a number of mineral-rich worlds. It was yet to be discovered what gases or minerals were within each, or if they could be productively transported back to Sulm.

Suddenly, there was a communication channel opened directly from Warlord Sler'huss. "Keep looking," she said simply. "What we do today echoes in eternity, and I will not have us lose our edge by scavenging among pebbles and riverstones." The crew of the Si'Orth were at first stunned. This solar system Gothra had seemed to them to be the largest discovery so far in the existence of their species, and yet the Warlord beckoned them to pass it up, in search of something better?

But there was no denying the Warlord's command, especially in such a monumental venture as the first exploration among the stars. If it was the wrong decision, it was not for the crew of the Locutor Si'Orth to debate, but for the councilors upon Sulm to harangue. They set their warp drive back into activity, only hours after arriving.

Back on Sulm, the Warlord Sler'huss stood in the council chambers. Whisperings, murmurings were all that could ever be heard of a Sulmite unless one was very closeby. Their language was transmitted by the soft and crisp flicking of their wing-like molluscoid ears, as well as the padding and tapping of their small neck-tentacles. It was a way of speaking close to silent, but one which had led the Sulmites here to the stars. The council chamber quietly clattered with conversations among the small groups of councilors, with the Warlord standing alone upon the throne above.

The councilors were all new here, as the Symposium of Sulm had only been established months prior. They had yet to form factions, though the councilors were discovering the intents and backgrounds of each other. There were those who had been with the reigning empire since its beginnings, and those who had along some point become assimilated into it. It was not a nation where one's seniority meant anything at all, and both newcomers and the most loyal councilors blended seamlessly among each other.

None of the councilors dared to approach the Warlord with thoughts of argument, as the price for such a debate was to win combat against one of the Warlord's chosen fighters. For these councilors, it was equally important to be skilled in the way of arms as with the skill of language or logic. To the Sulmites, the three were innately connected. Arms, language, and logic were bound together as one. A well-crafted argument was as irrefutable as a blade to the throat, and especially so when delivered in tandem. Due to the extremity of this method of debate, it was not often, and not lightly, that blood graced the marble floors of the council chambers.
 
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PossessedLemon

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Fern'uni's Ascent

Fern'uni was a veteran of the unification wars, and bore her medals with no lack of pride as she stepped into the council chambers of Sulm. She was beckoned here by the Warlord herself, though for what purpose she did not yet know.

The opening of the grand marble doors before her caused light to enter in the council chamber, and before her she saw the throngs of councilors huddled into masses of dozens. All turned to see the light that she brought in, as she tread with an appearance of confidence into this most highest of places.

Upon the throne, Fern'uni saw the Warlord for the first time with her natural eyes, not augmented by digital screen or virtual appearance. Warlord Sler'huss was before her, in the flesh, upon the proud marble throne. She could not help but weep at the sight, for memory of her comrades who had been killed or crippled in the unification wars. They had fought for this moment, all of them, for this wonderful peace which had now arrived. Fern'uni had lost much, among them her husband Tori'un, who was slain in a far-off regiment. Before her, Fern'uni could not help but recall the darkness of that moment where she had purged herself of his genetic material, as is customary after the death in battle of a husband.

Fern'uni continued towards the Warlord, and was beckoned within the close proximity most typical of the Sulmite language. She was close enough to hear the quiet, delicate speech of Warlord Sler'huss, the Grand Mother of the Sulmites.

"You shall lead a Locutor into the stars, and in doing so announce the presence of our species to the galaxy. You will champion the light of Sulm into the abyss, and in doing so illuminate the unknown."
"I thank you, Warlord. But I have suffered much, and am by no means an explorer. Surely there are researchers more worthy to the task."
"We shall need brilliant military minds in the times ahead, chief among them to study how best to operate our vessels among the stars. You, Fern'uni, are the one that I have chosen for this reason."

Fern'uni hung for a moment. The Warlord herself had made the sounds of Fern'uni's name with their own voice. The same voice that had announced the victory of the unification wars. The voice of Sulm had pronounced her name.

"As always, I shall serve the legacy of Sulm. Be it in war, or in space. I will be the light of our species among the dark."

With that, the convocation was complete. There was a military parade in Fern'uni's honor upon the place where the grand coliseum was to be built, and only a few hurried days later, she had left the planet towards the stars above.

condarra 2200.JPG

Condarra System

The crew of the Si'Orth arrived at the second system away from their home, in their exploratory ventures. For the first few moments, they cringed, awaiting a communications intercept from the Warlord herself. They feared she would once again order them to leave these unexplored planets behind, in search of a better system.

But the moment passed, and each new moment brought more sureness that the Warlord would not call them away from this place. Sler'gah activated the navigation route; first to the desert world of Condarra I, where it was possible that life existed. While it would be an exceptionally poor place for the ocean-dwelling Sulmites to colonize, it was nevertheless a possibility that a lifeform of some kind had arisen from the sparse rivers that this planet held.

After days of scanning the planet from afar, it became certain that some civilized, albeit pre-space age, species was upon Condarra I. This species had constructed factories which churned out metal vehicles, including aerocraft which were seen traveling over the desert expanses. Long trains of cargo could be seen snaking across the land. Borders were apparent between several nation-states, complete with no-mans-land between them which suggested the respect for militarism of these people.

Most curiously, an ancient and abandoned colony was found, with technology most unlike that seen throughout the planet. Whether this species emerged from the planet, or became resident here somehow, was to be determined.

Once the story of the findings on Condarra I reached the ears of the Symposium, it was immediately agreed upon that these desert-dwelling peoples should be brought into the fold. They were unlike the Sulmites in many ways, largest among them the fact that these people enjoyed the inhospitable dryness of their planet. But their ingenuity was obvious, and although other lifeforms could be found on the Sulmite's homeworld, they had seen nothing that so closely rivaled their own sentience.

After hearing from the council, Warlord Sler'huss declared that a starbase would be constructed in the Condarra system, and an observation post would be established above Condarra I. From there, they would engage with the people of this planet and attempt to bring them into the fold, while respecting their territorial independence.
 
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stnylan

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I especially like the explanation for in-game traits.
 

HistoryDude

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This looks very interesting. I especially like the why of the traits.

Ah, the Sulmites have encountered primitives. I wonder what they will do?

Subbed!
 

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Nice writing thus far. Engaging and explanatory. Keep it up. Reading along now.

Cheers!
 

PossessedLemon

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The Architecture, Living, & Cadres of the Unification Era

On the homeworld of Sulm, cities were being reforged. The unification wars had only just passed, and in the wreckage of those ruined nations, a new global Sulmite identity was emerging. The "architecture of rebirth" reflected a deep and primordial elegance, a simple yet complex nest of ceramic shells and glass pipes. These shells reflected a permanence, the arrival at a global conclusion as to the destiny of the Sulmite species.

Each structure culminated the knowledge of the previously disparate nations of Sulm. Now together, architectural wisdom was shared and unified into an ultimate design. This resulted in the conception of the immaculate Sulmite habitation; an immense ark where hundreds of thousands of Sulmites may live while performing functions for the nation.

Privacy was nonexistent for the Sulmites, who believed that by living in common, each would be held up to the highest standard of national ideal. Each day, a Sulmite must at least once visit their habitation's grand cafeteria, both to absorb nutrients provided by the state, and to intake "patriotic accords". These accords were an admixture of song, poetry, and patriotic indoctrination intended to direct them towards their purpose. Accords were customized, and in many ways were democratic and reflected local priorities.

Cadre Networks & Sulmite Social Organization

A grouping of several hundred habitations was called a "cadre", and reflected a localized identity wherein members of a place organized in a coherent structure affirmed by the state. Members of a cadre shared a purpose, amassing the Sulmite potential and concentrating it into local council elites. A cadre on Sulm was much like an enormous household, wherein hundreds of thousands of individuals shared a livelihood and standard of living. (Cadres are the population units.)

Cadre organization was dynamic, and the cadre system arranged itself according to the needs of the nation. Each cadre's purpose was to elevate and support local elites, who would in turn attend high council meetings within the Symposium and make appeals to their fellow elites. A successful Sulmite elite could convince others to embark on shared ventures, such as the development of beneficial logistical networks in this freshly unified world.

obb'iace voidfarers 2200.JPG

Admiral Gah'Huss and the Obb'iace Voidfarers

During the unification wars, certain disparate nations were particularly resilient and stubborn to cohere with the Symposium's grand designs. Within one of these last warring nations was born a Sulmite by the name of Gah'huss, who became a famed naval admiral of a now-fallen nation. Before total unification, large nations stood at stand-off with vast arrays of weapons of mutual destruction bristling. Few of these weapons were ever used, but those which were destroyed entire subcontinents. Gah'huss was from one such ruined nation; a nation which never surrendered until that final bitter moment when oceans became glass.

In exchange for a significant reparations deal, Gah'huss agreed to serve the newly united Sulm as the first void admiral. Instead of commanding warships upon the vast seas of Sulm, they would command voidships through the unknown darkness of the galaxy. In doing so, Gah'huss remarked, they would "chart Sulm towards a future in which all was united as one, and where an eternal peace reigned across the world." To elevate a fallen warrior to the peaks of the Sulmite military was deemed an essential gesture, to bind all of Sulm into this new equity.

With the discovery of a primitive species on Condarra, it was a logical conclusion that more advanced life must exist elsewhere in the galaxy. There was a palpably historic moment upon the establishment of this first void fleet, and by many it was considered to be the instrument of destiny. With its victory or defeat, the future of the Sulmites would be determined. They were eager to find their standing among the stars.

This historic fleet was known as the Obb'iace Voidfarers; the first stellar military endeavor of the Symposium of Sulm.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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I do believe the Sulm may have "issues" with certain other races they are likely discover :)
 

HistoryDude

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The Sulmites may democratically indoctrinate themselves... sounds completely logical...

Let's see what kind of nations inhabit that vast void...
 

Macavity116

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In exchange for a significant reparations deal, Gah'huss agreed to serve the newly united Sulm as the first void admiral.

That's one hell of a bargain. Gah'huss has got to be the new posterchild of the phrase "Asskicking equals authority."