Friday, July 3, 2020

Microstory 1400: Durance Introduction

The history of planet Durus can be broken down into eleven eras, of varying duration, and are mostly based on the forms of government that ran the world in those times. First off, the name itself has complicated origins. It derives from the word endurance, which means lasting, but is often used in the context of prolonged suffering. That’s perfect for this world, because across the decades, its early inhabitants all suffered. No one had it good—even those who had it better—until democracy took hold after nearly two hundred years without it. But still, they endured. The name also comes directly from the root durus, which means hard. This relates to the world’s seemingly insurmountable harshness, and the fact that, when found, the rogue planet was barely more than a lifeless rock, floating through the void. The reason this series is simply called Durance is because that means imprisonment, and many have felt trapped on Durus, what with there being little hope of returning to Earth. The first to become trapped was a three-year-old girl named Savitri, who fell into a portal near her childhood home, and never returned. She spent ten years alone, never knowing her own last name, before the next unsuspecting child experienced a similar trauma. They were then alone together for another ten years until other people started coming through. The first period was retroactively referred to as the Solocracy, which means it was never a form of government at all, but it is said that Savitri commanded the world itself, using her powers to summon supporting life to her proximity. As we’ll discover, that’s not really what happened, but it’s a nice idea. When Escher Bradley appeared at the end of this single-person society, they formed what they called the Twoarchy; a sentiment which remained in historical records, even though the real term should have been Diarchy. Soon after Rothko Ladhiffe showed up, the final era of pre-civilization began, which was called the Triumvirate, though it wasn’t always composed of the same three people.

In the year 2016, the final remnants of the once-great city of Springfield, Kansas fell into the portal during something called the Deathfall, and sealed it up. This was when true society formed, and it did not go well. A tyrant named Smith garnered favor with the right people, and struck fear in the hearts of everyone else, forcing the town to follow his law until his disappearance five years later. There were many dangers in this world; monsters with rarely rational reasons for their destructive behavior, so Smith felt he needed to rule with an iron fist, and consolidate all power unto himself. Insurgents call this the Smithtatorship, which the historical documents support, because Smith himself never bothered naming his reign anyway. The next nine years were a mixed-bag of really bad, just normal bad, and not too terribly bad, but still kind of bad. It’s actually composed of a series of experimental governances, which are collectively known as the Adhocracy. It is only when the source mages, who were born in the months after Deathfall, grew old enough to take power, that things started looking up. They formed the Mage Protectorate, and used their abilities to give those they deemed worthy powers of their own, so they could keep watch over the now multiplying towns. This was a relatively peaceful period, as the monsters now that knew they were no match for the mages. Their patience lasted only sixty years, though, at which point a short war broke out, and sent the world into a dark era called the Interstitial Chaos. There was no significant attempt at a unifying governing body of any kind for these four years, but a lot happened, so it is an era in its own right.

Believing women as a whole to be the true agents of chaos and pain, a group of men took over Durus, and developed what they called The Republic. Detractors called it the Phallocracy, and enduring supporters often retroactively call it the First Republic, to distinguish it from the Democratic Republic that finally formed in 2168. In between these two republics were two short-lived transitional periods, known respectively as the Provisional Government, and the Salmon Battalion Military State. The latter came from Earth to keep things in order when some saw the Provisional Government was taking too long getting over its misogynistic ways. Lastly, the Solar Democratic Republic began in the year 2204. After potentially millions of years without a host star of its own, Durus finally found itself orbiting a binary star system. The name change is symbolic, and not reflective of any true change in government, though some debate whether to consider it the twelfth era. Others say Savitri’s period of solitude shouldn’t be treated as an era on its own either way, but no one is confident in this position. We will be examining various stories in chronological order over the course of the next five months. Each of the eleven or twelve Durune eras will be featured, but installments will not be evenly distributed across them. Here we go.

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