Tarlec, a Planet Outside the Sidhe Empire
A pale jewel drifting through the void, this is the planet Tarlec. A still-glowing ember of the once great Imaja Empire. This reclusive race of self-made, practically immortal, animal-headed humanoids shaped in the likeness of Egyptian deities, were once feared and worshiped as gods across a multitude of worlds for more than a hundred millennia. Now they are a reclusive order of scientists and scholars, observing the ruins of their once vast domain from distant towers within the timeless capitol of Asherat. Forgotten by most, having outlived their subjects and enemies alike, they live in reflection and regret.
Tarlec was settled by the Imaja roughly 60,000 years ago, in the middle of their Imperial Era. The planet had no native inhabitants, being at the time an entirely lifeless world. Imaja technology terra-formed enough so that life could survive. It was chosen to serve as a monastery for the Imaja; designated as a place to purify self and soul of the corrupting influences of the opulent lifestyle they enjoyed elsewhere. The Imaja Empire fell around 2000 B.C., following a cataclysmic war with an unnamed enemy (their name quite literally cannot be found in any records), all of the other Imaja worlds were destroyed, including Irtyu (their home-world), leaving Tarlec as their only remaining planet.
Tarlec is a small, Mars-sized planet that orbits a red dwarf star, shrouded in veils of interstellar dust, far out on the frontier of the Sidhe Empire. Covered in a yellow-orange coating of sand and silt, interrupted occasionally by vast mountain ranges of dense gray stone, it is an inhospitable place. It has no open bodies of water, no glaciers at its poles, and nothing green grows there. Its days are hot and its nights are terribly cold.
The few ancient cities that can be found are nestled amidst the mountains or lie within craters, usually covered by force-domes to keep out the dust stirred by the frequent, massive sandstorms which rage across the plains. The cities are inhabited almost exclusively by the Imaja. As their sole remaining world, it houses their vast libraries, as well as the deeply buried necropolises which preserve their dead in eternal sleep. All of their crops and livestock are grown within greenhouses contained in the cities. The largest city on the planet is its capitol, Asherat. From there, the planet and its people are ruled by the theocratic council of nine Hierarchs, near-godlike beings who see themselves as the living embodiment of heavenly order and perfection.
There are some settlements populated by other species; they are buried deep in valleys dotted with caves that lead down to strata where groundwater can be tapped and at some crops grown. These include humans, djinn, naga, and the rare, hardy thereanthrope. It is through these communities that most of the trading is done with other worlds, and those traders, in turn, sell items of interest to the Imaja. Sometimes direct trade with the Order is possible, but only through carefully negotiated terms, as they generally do not communicate directly with outsiders.
Tarlec is difficult to reach by ship, the routes leading there being full of navigational hazards, and its system is still patrolled by ancient automated sentinels which will attack unauthorized ships. Portals can be arranged for safer and more direct travel, but only with the approval of the Imaja or one of their chosen ambassadors.
Their planet’s remote location and formidable defenses make it a costly and impractical target for the Sidhe Empire, so an uneasy truce has been in place for the past century since the sidhe became aware of it.
To read about more planets, visit the Planets of the Sidhe Empire page.