Located at the periphery of inhabited space, orbiting a lonely star lies the arid and harsh homeworld of the Dushan.
Settled among the ruins of decayed vestigal empires, the Dushan have returned from the shadows to claim their place amongst the distant stars.
Whether they be feared for their martial traditions or admired for their culture, the emerging Dushan are here to stay and thus must be dealt with on their own terms.
Various spellings and variations of their name are known, for being the most popular one emerged has been Dushan.
It is spelled Du-shan and the inhabitants call themself Dushani, or just the Dushan.
The origins of the Dushan are shrouded in legend and mystery. No central authority existed among the myriad of warring kingdoms and city states. Technological development and interaction with other worlds was severely limited. Many of the dushani traditions, ethics and honor codes have their roots in those archaic era.
History would change forever as the lands fell under the reign of terror of The Great Tyrant. Legend says that a thousend Warriors from all tribes were summoned to his Court where they swore and oath of fealty to him and in return he blessed and cursed them alike with the gift of power, which from there was passed onwards to their descendants. Thus, so the ancient texts says, the first Dushan came into existence.
Kingdom upon Kingdom fell to the Dushan who repeated what they had learned from their master; those who subjected themself to their rule earned their share of the spoils of conquests to come, but those who refused fell enslaved or were put to the sword. Harsh, brutal and awesome where those Days when the Dushan were ruled by the Great Tyrant and worshipped the Great God Dyzan, who demanded sacrifices to be paid in blood. But soon they would be put to another test.
Not long after the First Stellar Crusade reached the homeworld of the Dushan. Countless invaders rained from the skies but the dushani stood their ground. So brutal and vicious the fighting was, that the Dosteydosh river was said to have turned red from the blood of the fallen. Most of dushan's fortresses and installations were errected during this Era, of which many exist to this Day and are still in use. Finally the Dushani Legions emerged victorious and took their swords to the stars.
Soon enough many Worlds would get to know the Legions of Dushan as they joined the emerging Great Empire, in which service they gained their awesome reputation. Finally, more peaceful times would arise, leading to a blossoming of dushani high culture under imperial rule and much of the archaic traditions of the blood fell to forgotteness only reverenced by dark underground cults. The newly emerging aristocracy and elites developed fine tastes for both culture and intrigue alike, thus giving the Dushan a silky glove to be worn upon their iron fist.
The late, feudally organized, increasingly despotic Great Empire was not destined to last forever and fell into a long period of decline. In the end, the Dushan emerged independent of their own but was for many years a sparsingly populated, generally considered backwarded Worlds whose Warriors had become sellswords whose services were held in high regard on many worlds.
Meanwhile, in the shadow of greater events unfolding the sleeping dushani Dragon would slowly awake again...
The dushani are inhabiting a remote and sparsingly populated area of space. Several celestial bodies of various size and shape are ruled by the Dushan, who hold sway over a small number vassals and protectorates.
The surface of the dushani homeworld is characterized by vast oceans and massive continents. A dry and arid climate with at best sparsingly vegetation is prevalent. Some mediterrean and sub-tropical areas along a few coastlines form an exception. Alpine heights and the polar regions feature occassional snowfall.
The deserts are rocky and extremly dry. They are composed of stony terrain, salt lakes, sand, and felsic lava, with less than 5% of them are made up of sand. Rainfalls in those areas are a rare occurance, but can quickly turn dried basins into stormy rivers.
Legend goes that the first Dushan were spawned from the ancient tyrant Merli'bong. Their origins and relation to standard humans are subject to debate. Scientific research has indeed found noteworthy genetic and metabolical anomalities (generally but not necessarily including: increased longlivity, increased physical and organic resilence, strenght, speed and regeneration among other things) compared to earth humans. Genetical engineering is strongly suspected. Those noteworthy differences making them essentially Human Aliens.
A small but noteworthy number of dushani have in part human ancestors, of whom some have kept their original names and some of their customs. Many of them are descendant from adopted individuals or tribes who have been joined the Dushan in the past.
The Dushan are governed by tradition and a complex but ruthlessy efficient system called the Cybernetic Monarchy. It is aided and assisted by an network of cyborg bureaucracy and supervisors who are assigned to special tasks.
At the top of this machine stands the Ruler who in turn is choosen by the Great Council. The Ruler wields wideranging powers, but keeps by custom itself in the background and tends to act as moderator and referee in cases of disputes. While the position is non-hereditary, for the last decades it has been held by House Mandakh.
The Permanent Regency Command Council is the central body of the executive and made up of the heads and representatives of the various organisations, institutions and other bodies of the realm and it's subsidaries. It's exact size and composition has varied over the years. Strictly seen, it is an extension of the Great Council.
The Great Council is the major legislative body and has been existing in one or another form since millenia. It's members have usually imperative mandates. It meets nowadays in infrequent intervals when important matters have to be discussed or decided upon.
The realm is divided into magistratures and various kinds of terretories and protectorates. The former are fully integrated parts of the realm and governed by a Magistrate who is usually choosen locally in one form or another. Terretories are usually frontier worlds and the likes which are governed by an appointed civilian or military governor. Protectorates are generally ruled according to their own customs and laws and enjoy a great deal of autonomy in their own domestic affairs.
Local governments and rulers are expected to handle their own matters to a degree, and are held accountable to central authority if they fail to do so.
Foreign relations to other nations are maintained and managed by the foreign Ministry and the Bureau of interstellar Affairs whose Director is a permanent member of the Regency Council. The Bureau is also tasked with establishing contact to new governments and nations and employs special envoys who represent the realm on distant worlds with whom sometimes no formalized relations exist.
The regular military is named the Dushan Armed Forces, shortened DAF. It is divided into various branches and sections. It's most numerous and important component is called the Star Force. Despite being presenting itself on the surface a modernized and professionalized force, it's tracing back it's heritage to ancient martial traditions. It's current doctrine is focussed on defence of the realm, despite rumors of various secret projects persist. All DAF service personal are volunteers and undergo extensive training.
Lightly-armed paramilitary formations and planetary militias do exist and are independently organized from the regular military but are usually to be integrated into it's command strucuture during mobilization and wartimes. The same applies to the various battle orders, combat academies and similar formations.
While far from the material abundance of the civilized core worlds, the dushani economy is strong enough to provide the majority of it's population a not luxurious but relatively decent lifestyle. Poverty has become a rare occassion. A good access to ressources, skillfull engineers and scientists and a solid industrial base gives the Dushan the ability to produce many of it's necessary goods and products by itself, including those for military use.
Exotic minerals and materials are being mined from asteroids and planetoids, while other components are extracted from gasgiants. In return for raw materials and industrial products, modern and very advanced technologies have been imported making up for some shortcommings. Industrial products tend to be very refined and durable. Dushani computers are called Cybertronics, and have a different architecture making them rather expensive and rendering them incompatible with most electronic computers but also quite resistant against tampering. The usage of purely artificial intelligence is limited, however cyborg and man-machine interfaces do exist for both civil and military use.
Genetic Engineering, manipulation, augmentation and cloning are advanced and in widespread use for both military and civilian purposes. Some of the techniques involved in those enhancement, and especially their development, are banned or shunned on many civilized worlds.
The economic order is a free market one, as dushani believe in the merits of competition as means towards improvement. Industrial syndicates and guild cooperatives are the most common type of business entities.
The life of the Dushan is both shaped by ancient, martial traditions as it is by their complex high culture. Forged under harsh and unforgiving conditions the Dushan were forced to learn and adapt to survive in a hostile universe as they fought their way to the top through countless hardships.
The Dushan live by an ancient identity tied to a set of unwritten set of guidelines and rules of behaviour commonly called "Beyd", as well as to a record of history spanning well over several millenia. The most well known and influential form is the honor codex of the sword nobility and it's martial virtues, which have a huge impact on dushani culture and spirit as a whole.
Another cornerstone of dushani philosophy and worldview is the importance of survivial through self-development and advancement. This is strongly reflected in various aspects ranging from genetic and cybernetic enhancements down to the dushani concept of marriage which is focussed on the fusion of the bloodlines of two individuals in order to create a new human that ideally would compare the very best traits and attributes of its parents.
Dushani enjoy arts, music, sports, performances, dances and various festivities and other activities, sometimes in a ritualized fashion. While some of those things may appear hedonistic or decadent to some foreign observer, they follow more often than not long-standing traditions and dedicated customs that may not always apparent on first sight.
Known for it's occassional sharp contrasts and seemingly paradoxical attitudes, reasons and origins are to be found in history. Shaped by an existence under sometimes harsh conditions the Dushan are quick to adapt and learn to new situations when necessary and are also polite if not generous hosts who surprise foreign guests with their hospitality and care. On the other hand they're know to be - if necessary - cunning, calculating, ruthless and not free from occassional cruelty and other dark traits which most infamously manifested during the conquests of the archaic era as countless worlds were ravished and slaves being taken. For a long time owning slaves as property was kind of a status symbol. Needless to mention that the practice has since then fallen out of favor.
Despite their various schools and traditions most dushani religions have often similar sets of beliefs and cosmology alike. The two major schools of dushani religions are the pan and the polytheists.
The fundamental belief of the major pantheistic creed is that there is a natural, cosmic Order/Spirit that transcents this and other planes of existence and that every being has it's own individual destiny and place within this Order whether it is being aware of it or not. The mystic and ideal spritual way to salvations lies within discovery and embracement of said place and following it's choosen destiny. The pantheistic faith has been especially popular in the immediate post-independence era.
The often more popular polytheistic Schools are rejecting this cosmology as superficial and believe in a pluralist, instable chaotic order of various deities and ways which can be choosen freely from to follow. Though it acknowledges that it often which come along with its consequences and to whom sacrifices may have to be made. This includes a pantheon of various deities who often have Temples and Cults dedicated to them, among them most notoriously the God of War Dyzan who is said to have spritually empowered the Legions in the ancient era. Underground Cults and Secret Societies dedicated to specific deities or rituals have been a common occurance during History and sometimes included political contexts.
Syncretic mixes of both Schools do exist as well and theres a huge theological debate about concepts such as rebirth, death and whether or not Man can ascent to godhood and of course the very nature of the deities itself.
Nothwithstanding of this all, State and Religion have been - despite occassional exceptions - separated for most of dushani history. Despite freedom of religion is permitted, foreign religions are often being viewed as suspicious and sometimes subject to restriction.