Guide to Regnor Prime
We visit Regnor Prime in the final volume of The Lilean Chronicles series. This planet is where Vincent, Farra, and their friends find themselves at the end of their most harrowing experience.
The natural environment
The Regnor system has eight planets, but only one is habitable. Due to it’s its political neutrality and location near a major galactic shipping lane and it being a major centre for trade, the Galactic Council decided to give it the title of Prime. Before being afforded this privilege, the planet was known by its former galactic designation of Regnor 3. Being a major centre for trade, many races live and work on Regnor and its cities are known as very cosmopolitan areas.
The planet has 4 major landmasses and one hundred and seven small islands, which together make up 61% of the total surface area of the planet. Its orbit around it’s large yellow star gives it a year lasting 380 days of 31 hours each. Due to a tiny fraction difference in the orbit, every tenth year contains one extra day. Regnor wobbles slightly around its axis, which means that its polar regions thaw completely when facing towards the star. It has a single small and very close moon that is used a communications relay station. The year consists of six seasons, the long summer morphs gently into autumn, then a wet season that changes abruptly into a chill winter. The thaw brings a further wet season that gently morphs into a long spring. The two wet seasons are times of celebration for the indigenous Regnorians, one being used to show gratitude for the plenty enjoyed during the summer and the other being used to give thanks for the thaw which they hope heralds another, equally plentiful one to come. The pre Spring wet season is traditionally the time for marriages to take place.
The terrain is very much like that found on most inhabited planets. The mountain regions are home to the tribal Regnorians who have always shunned modern life, preferring to live as their ancestors did. They are hunter gatherers, living in huts or caves, and growing a tough grain which they use for an unleavened bread. These tribal people live by a strict religious and tribal code, with transgressions punishable by death. The various tribes co-exist in peace so long as tribal boundaries are observed. Inter-tribal aggression does take place on occasion, and this region is dangerous for foreigners who do not know how to observe the strict laws enforced by the tribes.
The inner cities are home to immigrants from other worlds, who own and run the majority of the businesses. On the fringes of the cities are the forgotten, those shunned by both the foreigners and the tribes of the mountain regions because they chose to fight when Regnor was first invaded. They live on the streets, begging for scraps and catching what prey they can. Their lives are harsh and usually short.
Lankwale – This four legged vegetarian mammal roams in small family herds, ruled over by a single alpha male with five or six females who form his harem. They are covered in short coarse fur which ranges in colour from light tan to deep chestnut. The region under the chin, the neck, and the belly are always creamy white. Their feet end in a hoof that is divided into three individual toes. The short tufty tail is usually held vertically and twitches in direct response to their stress levels. The alpha male sports a pair of long, backward curving, spiral horns that can reach up to forty inches in length in older males. The females have a pair of short, straight horns about six inches long which are shed each year, during the pre-Spring wet season. A fully grown alpha male can be five feet at the shoulder, with the females being a good foot shorter. The tribal Regnorians hunt them for their meat and use their hide to make clothes, blankets, and as insulation for their huts.
Davendik – Regnor Prime’s only reptile like creature. It lives in the high mountains where it prefers the thinner atmosphere. Living in such an extreme environment and having a rather specialised diet made up purely of four types of insect, it hovers on the brink of extinction. Fully grown males reach a mere six inches or so in length, with females being an inch or two smaller. As much as two thirds of their length is a powerful and prehensile tail, which they use to help them grip rocks to avoid being swept off the mountain side during high winds. They also use it as a defence mechanism, using it as a club with enough speed and force as to sever a man’s finger. The scales that cover their entire body are uniformly grey and offer excellent camouflage against the rocky environment in which they live. Solitary by nature, the sexes meet up only to mate and part company straight afterwards. The female lays a clutch of twenty to thirty small leathery eggs which she buries in a scoop in the ground and covers with small stones. Once laid and buried, she leaves and never returns. Out of each clutch, three or four at the most will survive their first year of life, with the rest being lost to birds, and other Davendiks. Scientists have predicted that the species will be extinct within five years.
Lipit – Regnor Prime’s smallest bird lives in huge flocks of many thousands. Growing to a maximum of three inches in length, the sexes are difficult to distinguish from each other. The only way to tell male from female is by listening to them. Only the females sing, and their song is regarded as one of the most beautiful sounds in nature. Their success is due in large part to their varied diet, which consists of insects and nectar from flowering plants and trees. Any insect small enough to fit into their tiny beaks will be eaten. They breed twice each year, with their clutches of three eggs hatching right at the end of each wet season. They are all a uniform mid brown, apart from a single tail feather of the brightest yellow, which they constantly flash by swishing their tails up and down when roosting and during pre-mating courtship display. The tribal Regnorians collect the yellow feathers for use in their ceremonial head dresses.
Nuk Nuk – This long thin worm is regarded as a pest by farmers on Regnor Prime. If the soil becomes infested with them, a toxic excretion seeps into the ground and kills crops very effectively and quickly. They are thought to have some kind of hive mind, as they live in masses of tens of millions and move as a single organism. Ground that has become infested is easily recognisable by the sickly yellow colour of the bare soil in which nothing will grow. The only way to get rid of them is to remove the top foot of soil, wash the worms out in water, and burn them. Strangely, the ash from the burned worms forms a very nutrient rich fertiliser which the farmers are able to put back into the washed topsoil to replenish it. Each worm can grow to around five inches in length and no more than three millimeters in diameter. They are a uniform glossy dark brown colour and are hermaphroditic, reproducing by division. The resulting offspring gains all its genetic information from its single parent. The Nuk Nuk is the largest animal known to reproduce this way.
Shinna Beetle – Regnor Prime’s biggest insect, Shinnas can grow to seven inches in length. The body is covered in a tough exoskeleton that shines and glimmers with irridescent colours as the light catches it. They have two pairs of large wings, which they keep covered underneath flaps of their exoskeleton. Males have a pair of huge pincers that project from the front of their heads, which they use to restrain females when mating. They can also use them to inflict an extremely painful nip, should anyone be reckless enough to pick one up. They feed on smaller insects and fresh green shoots. After mating, which is always done in early Summer, the females lays eggs which she sticks to the underside of large leafed plants with a sticky exudate from her rear end. The wingless larva spends four years eating, before pupating into an adult Shinna. The largest specimens are a rarity nowadays as they are often captured for their beautiful exoskeleton, which is used in the jewellery trade as decoration on their cheaper ranges.
Posza – a small rodent covered in coarse black fur and sporting a long hairless tail that is always exactly twice its body length. What were once country dwelling creatures living in large extended family groups in burrows under trees and hedges, have become a black tide of worrying proportions since the influx of immigrants that brought Regnor’s cities back to life. They now infest the sewers and can be found anywhere there is rubbish or discarded food. There are no family groups now, there are millions of them roaming beneath the cities and scouting the rubbish dumps. Restaurants, hospitals, and even homes are now within the territories of the Posza scourge. Spreading disease wherever they go, brought into homes from the sewers and rotting food dumps where they live and frequent, they are largely immune to the poisons put down by pest control companies. Scientists are working to produce a vaccine which will render them sterile and therefore, unable to breed, but don’t expect a usable formula for at least ten years.
The Regnorian People
Regnor Prime is a very cosmopolitan planet; home to a vastly differing array of races of people. Many different races emigrate here and live harmoniously side by side with each other in the cities. The indigenous Regnorians fall into two groups, the tribal groups in the mountains and the forgotten, who dwell on the outer fringes of the cities, begging for scraps and hunting what prey they can.
The tribal Regnorians choose to live as their ancestors lived and shun anything modern. They are wiry in appearance, rather than muscular, with strong lean muscles beneath a thick looking coarse complexion. They grow to around five feet six or seven at most, the high altitude helping to keep obesity at bay no matter how much they eat. They have enlarged lung function and a capacity for exercise that is nothing short of miraculous, given the high altitude at which some of the tribes live. Their hair is black, very thick and coarse in appearance. The eyebrows are bushy and the eyelashes, very long and thick. Their skin has a ruddy, weatherbeaten appearance with noticeable red veining across the cheeks and nose.
The fingers are long, as are the toes and this is thought to help them climb and clamber in their mountain territories. The knees of Regnorians have an extra pair of Ligaments, one at each side, which aid in protecting them from knee injuries and help make them strong climbers.
The eyes range in colour from light hazel to deepest brown. No eye colour other than brown is ever seen on pure blooded Regnorians.
The male genitalia are normal in structure but rather small in size compared to other races. The testicles are held high up near the body to prevent heat loss in the cold and the penis is covered in a very thick and generously proportioned foreskin, which is assumed to be also for heat preservation. Female breasts are placed wide apart with the nipples facing more towards the sides than the front. The shape of the breast is rather flatter than the more rounded ones on many other races. Internally, the females have a pair of ovaries on each side of the womb and are the only known race to have this anomaly.
Women are typically fertile for a period of only ten years or so, from their mid twenties to mid thirties, after which they go through a short menopause. Pregnancies typically last eleven months and often result in twins or even triplets. Single births are relatively rare. Infant mortality is high due to their demanding lifestyle and difficult environment, so half of all children born are expected to die within their first three years of life.
Tribal Regnorians typically live into their fifties at most, a relatively short life span, with men outliving women by an average of four years. A Regnorian of Sixty Five or more is such a rarity that these people are assumed to be blessed by their deity and worshipped as living embodiments of their God figure.
They sleep twice a day, in two periods of three hours with a period of at least two hours between. Sleeping is always done during the hours of darkness as they are unable to sleep when the sun is up. A Regnorian who, for whatever reason, is prevented from sleeping for an entire night will have to wait until the following sundown before his body will fall asleep. Sunlight triggers the release of a substance that blocks the hormone that causes sleepiness. For this reason, it is very dangerous for Regnorians to go without sleep for more than a single night.
The Tribal Regnorians are shy of strangers and mistrustful of other tribes and factions. Ancient traditions rule every aspect of their lives and they are quick to take offence when they feel they or their ways have been disrespected. Outsiders take a great risk when venturing into the tribal regions unless they are learned in the ways of these people. Violence and killings happen on a regular basis and they regard ignorance of their ways as neither excuse for any disrespect, nor reason for leniency in punishment.
Regnorians are a hardy people with an advanced immune system that allows them to shrug off minor ailments very quickly. Their life span averages around the fifty nine year mark for males, and around fifty five for females. Infant mortality is high, with half of all babies expected to die before the age of three years. They have an above average tolerance for low temperatures and thin atmospheres. The Regnorian heart is much larger than one would expect for an average humanoid type, the veins and arteries also have thicker walls than one might consider normal. This enlarged heart allows for greater volumes of blood being pumped around their more powerful arteries and veins, giving them great stamina and endurance. Because of this extra capacity and workload, many Regnorians die from Age Related Valve Burst. As the enlarged heart gets older, a weak point develops at the Pulmonary Valve, which eventually bursts apart. This is usually a painful death for the victim. Many worlds have the ability to strengthen the weakening valve but the Regnorians’ choice to adhere to the lifestyle their ancestors lived forbids them from seeking such invasive and modern medical help.
Nalak Mite Syndrome is something of a right of passage for Regnorian children, all of whom suffer this irritating affliction during their second or third year of life. It is caused by the Nalak Mite, a parasite that lives on the domesticated fowl the tribes raise for meat and eggs. The mites bite the fowl and inject an anti-coagulant before sucking up their blood meal. The fowl themselves suffer little effect other than itching, but as very placid and friendly birds who happily allow themselves to be played with by the tribal children, they pass their parasites on to their humanoid companions. The children have a much more severe reaction than do the birds and it is believed that the anti-coagulant produced by the mites is the cause of the itchy rash and fever that ensues. The Syndrome is rarely fatal, but the children suffer five to six days of a hellish itchy rash and high fever. After recovery, the child is immune for life. There is a widely available anti parasitic powder available that will kill the mites but being desperately poor as they are, few can afford such a luxury.
Genetic Mutism is where the child is born without any vocal chords, rendering them mute. Approximately two percent of children born per year will have this genetic deformity, caused by an partially unformed gene. Laboratory testing has shown that mothers who lack a particular hormone are forty eight percent more likely to give birth to babies with this deformity.
Digestive Shutdown affects the adult population of Regnor Prime, from age Twenty to Twenty Five onwards. Without warning, the person’s ability to digest food simply stops. Unable to gain any nutrition from their food, they starve to death. Internal digestive transit halts and food that is eaten builds up within the body, eventually backfilling so far that food can be seen at the back of the throat. If allowed to backfill this far, death by asphyxiation occurs. Neither a specific cause or an effective treatment has yet been found for this worrying condition.
Various genetic deformities resulting in malformed children being born are common amongst Regnorians, especially the tribal communities. The number of indigenous Regnorians is very low and their cultural habit of mating only within their own tribe means that their gene pool is nowhere near as clean as it should be. Some of the tribes consist of just two or three different family groups all inter-mating generation upon generation, which only serves to muddy the gene pool even further. The scientific community are very worried about this problem and many believe that indigenous Regnorians will die out within the next hundred years or so.
There is nothing too complicated about the psychology of Regnorians. They are not a tremendously ambitious people, but they do get upset and insecure if long held habits and traditions are changed suddenly. They like to do things the way they’ve always done them, rather than make changes without good reason. Even if there is a good reason, they still don’t like it. Some people find this aspect of their personality, inflexibility, but that would not be true.
They have a love of art in many forms, especially music, singing, and dancing, which form an important part of their rituals and daily life. Youngsters are taught to play the traditional stringed instrument, the Balonga, to sing and dance, as soon as they are old enough to take instruction. Every single Regnorian will take part in one of these three art forms, to not do so would be seen as odd to their fellows. It is their way of expressing their emotions, for talking about such things simply isn’t a part of their nature.
The tribal Regnorians especially, aren’t afraid to work very hard and their natural instinct to apply themselves fully to a task, to see it through to completion, to not fail, enables them to stand up to the most incredible setbacks in order to complete a task. How they appear to their fellows, to the other tribes, is very important, and they constantly strive to appear strong, enduring, hardy, and other similar qualities. To not do this would be to allow themselves to appear weak, which would make the other tribes look down on their entire tribe.
They have a strong faith in their single deity, and every aspect of their daily life revolves around living a life that is pleasing to him. Without their faith, the Regnorians would be lost. Their psychological balance and happiness is centred upon the belief that their deity looks down on them all of the time.
They are not overly strict as parents, in fact they can seem a little lax in that department, allowing their children to do pretty much as they please. They children however, seem to naturally behave well and not need much discipline anyway. They are far more strict with other adults of the tribe than with their children.
They are a fairly insular people, and tend to keep out of sight when strangers or foreigners are around. Other than keeping a sharp eye on anyone wandering into the tribal areas to make sure they obey the strict etiquette and not do anything overtly disrespectful, they tend not to be seen. They don’t understand the concepts of hate or revenge, but will mete out justice when someone disobeys the rules.
They are an able fighting force and anyone wandering into the tribal areas without knowledge of the social etiquette, will quickly become aware of their mistake. They will kill anyone who transgresses to a great enough degree. Fighting and justice are an integral part of their nature, and to not fight would seem grossly strange to them. Their fighting is limited to inter tribal conflicts and wandering foreigners, and never with another of their own tribe. Those kinds of conflicts are handled by a tribal debate and fisticuffs with each other are unheard of.
Their sex drive is high, probably due to their knowledge of their infant mortality rate, and coupled with their long pregnancies, monogamy is not practiced. A man will engage in sexual activity with any female who agrees, and will father children by many women in the tribe. Sex is practiced not only for reproduction, but also as a celebration at certain times of the year, during religious rituals etc.
Regnorians have a complicated system of religious beliefs and rituals. They have a single deity, a half man, half beast, being called Aybatawan. In their paintings, Aybatawan is always shown carrying a bucket of water. They regard him as a representative of man’s dual nature and the need for balance so that their spirit can grow. The gifting of a bucket of water is a very religious symbol to the Regnorians, a holy display that is guaranteed to make the giver well thought of. In their belief system, when you give someone a bucket of water and tell them it’s so they may wash themselves, they take it as symbolic of you saying they can wash away any sins. An newborn baby, during its welcoming ritual, will be gifted a bucket for water, and it will keep it for its entire life.
Aybatawan does not however, govern every aspect of their lives and they know that they are responsible for their actions and the choices they make. There is little dogma from the deity, no priests, but there are rituals that they perform at certain times of the year, during which they honour the presence of Aybatawan. The deity is the guardian of the afterlife, a place known only to Aybatawan and which they call, The City of The Spirits. They believe that Aybatawan keeps the location of this afterlife place secret so that the spirits who dwell there can be assured peace as they rest from the toils they endured during their lives. Even the real name of this place is known only to Aybatawan.
The only crime guaranteed to be punishable by death, is the touching or moving of deceased remains. When a person dies, they leave the body where it fell, and if the person dies in their bed, their hut is closed and tied shut. The body eventually withers and decays by the action of the harsh weather conditions, but any smell or discomfort by the living is endured happily. To disturb deceased remains can make the soul that inhabited it, restless and worried, and may make them lose their way to the City of Spirits. They feel that anyone disturbing a body in such a manner would be haunted by that spirit for their entire life, and would be tasked with leading them to the afterlife upon their own death.
Aybatawan is thanked for babies born, for a harvest completed, for the long life of someone who has just died, and is beseeched before planting crops and going to war or hunting.
Aybatawan sees all, knows all, and they never question his wisdom.
They have a legend of an angel called Veen Sen who saved two Regnorians during the war and promised to return again one day. He did return, and his story is explained in The Lilean Chronicles Book Four – Avalanche Effect.
The tribes are governed by a group of five elders, each of whom represents one of the five stages of life. The newborn, the child, the young adult, the full adult, and the old. Decisions are made via a debating system, whereby the entire tribe discusses the issue, offers solutions, brings problems to light etc. The elders then discuss between themselves, everything brought forth from the tribal debate. The entire tribe will remain seated and listen to this debate, for they feel that what concerns the whole tribe should be seen and heard by the whole tribe. They will not talk or interrupt though but will be listen in silence. When the elders reach an agreement they feel suitable, the entire tribe again debates it and either agrees or not. If agreement is not reached the first time, the elders will debate again, focussing on the new points brought up.
Life is divided up into tasks seen as mens tasks and those regarded as womens tasks. The women deal with the home, crops, harvesting from any livestock, cooking, and medicine. The men hunt, protect the tribal borders from other tribes, deal with foreigners who may wander into their territory, make huts, make and maintain weapons, and make clothes, blankets, musical instruments etc.
Despite the hardship of their daily life, the constant struggle for the bleakest survival, they are an optimistic and happy people. Honour and integrity are very important to their friendship bonds and when they make friends with you, they will give their lives defending you if necessary. They will however, fully expect the same from you in return. With so little, often the only gift they have to give a welcome guest is to give up their own bed for the night. They will sleep under a thin blanket on the rocks, the hardship being an important part of the gift. Guests will be given a veritable feast, often entailing the slaughtering of many of their livestock animals and going short themselves because of it, but honouring the guest always takes priority over their own needs and comforts.
Being used to terrible hardship doesn’t mean they can’t have fun. Every evening sees them singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments while the men relive past glories and funny memories. They have a game played with coloured stones, in which they try to win the most stones from the other players, and hardly an evening passes without this game being played by several teams of men.
The Forgotten, who live in the outskirts of the cities, have a dreadful life living as beggars. Before the invasion, these people were successful business owners who enjoyed a good standard of living. When the war began, they chose to fight the invaders and with the help of military forces from other systems, won the war. The Regnorian government decided that the invaders would have made their society rich and were not happy when they were chased away. They punished the fighting Regnorians by refusing to allow them to retake possession of their businesses and forced them into life as beggars and vagabonds. Their lives are short, often ending violently, and many orphans wander amongst the adults. Child mortality among the Forgotten, remains around 70%.
Crime is very low, especially amongst the tribal Regnorians and justice is dealt with by the elders. The Forgotten, who live on the outskirts of the city, do steal from shops and stores and are dealt with overly harshly by the authorities. They do it only to avoid starvation. Their dirty appearance and dishevelled clothing tends to frighten foreigners, making their attempts to beg for enough money to keep their children fed, almost impossible. Many of them will steal clean clothes from washing lines in the residential areas and keep one set for use when begging, and when singing and dancing for coins in the market squares and parks.
Regnorians have a hard life in a harsh environment but their word is their bond, and their friendship, a treasure.