Tell Us About Yourself
Name: Gul Shaní – but you may call me Shaní
Age: Isn’t that a lady’s own business?
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born on Arden in the year AE 12-322, to Mithélan and Crissel. Although a scientist by nature, my flair for politics led me into government service once I’d reached my majority. After three terms in office, I was elected to the Senatum – the ruling body of homeworld and our dependencies – and eventually, I became Deputy Magister and speaker of the House under Gul Sariff. (A great honor, for it is one of the highest offices a dignitary can hold).
Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Someone who would look at ease in your…Area 51?
Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? Upon my emergence from the Arc – the great DNA storage repository fashioned to sustain our race through adversity – I became enamored with one of the leaders of the human-hybrid community who helped guide the refugees from Earth through the most difficult years of the siege, Deputy Commander Mohammed Amine.
Although quiet and reserved, he is not afraid to speak the truth. Working amongst politicians all my life, that’s a rare prize, let me tell you. Even when carrying a heavy load, he is polite, gentle and kind, and bears himself with dignity. What’s more, Mohammed displays a profound respect for others and their beliefs that makes him a most appealing man.
I haven’t worn down his natural reserve yet…but I will:)
Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? Yes, I love allorans. I believe you call them horses on Earth? Growing up, I was fortunate in that I got to ride quite a lot, and loved ranging far and wide on alloran…or horseback, as often as my duties at the Senatum would allow. One, a mare I called, Soulsea, was especially dear to me, as she displayed an independent spirit, yet was fiercely loyal. I was there the day she was foaled, and she remained my constant companion for many years until the advent of the Kresh…or as you call them, the Horde.
Do you have a family? Tell us about them. My mother and father, Mithélan and Crissel died during the Kresh rampage across Arden hundreds of years ago. My brother, Banor, was in the military, and died during the war that tried to prevent them from reaching Arden.
Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behavior? How do you think it influences you? My fondest memories of childhood are the years I spent among the rolling hills of Selán, close to Genoas. My parents owned and managed a large stock-farming enterprise, you see, and although the business involved the selective breeding of both commercial and farm animals, allorans were by far my favorite. I spent many hours in the saddle as a young girl, riding the woods and sweeping grasslands which surrounded our estate, savoring sights and sounds too many of my classmates living in the municipality rarely got to enjoy. It made me realize how privileged I was to have such things, and sensitive to the characters of the creatures I met during my forays, deep into the forests.
I suppose you could say I inherited a free and open spirit from the friends I made in those woodlands, a spirit that has helped me form a special attachment to the world I serve.
As to influencing me now?
That inner fire makes me a formidable adversary on the Senatum floor. Although I’m a natural diplomat, I’m not swayed by the petty politics and party sniping carried on by many in the Senatum. Our world and its needs come first, and my commitment to Arden’s needs has made me the bane of those who don’t have their priorities right.
Like Mohammed, I’m not afraid to speak the truth, and would rather face differences and problems head-on, instead of ducking and diving all the time.
Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.
I’m rather handy with a mastig – what you would call a whip. Growing up in the country, we were often plagued by ropillos, (a small rodent with leathery wings that had a macabre taste for carrion, blood, and animal manure. An unsavory combination that meant their bite often spread infection through the herds and flocks they plagued). Originally forest dwellers, the flying pests started to infested the warm, cozy shelters we constructed to house our animals. As they migrating into new habitats, ropillos became a nuisance because they would chew through almost anything to get at materials suitable for nest-building. If you killed them, their carcasses would only attract other of their kind, so we developed mastigs, flexile, thirty-foot long whips with a little electric stunner in the end that would put the fear of god into our fluttering little friends and scare them away.
Tell Us About Your World
Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. As you are aware by now, Arden is a planet on the far side of what you call the Milky Way galaxy, one of five in our solar system.
Starting at Soleíl – our sun – there’s: Issander, Arden, Danobe, Vesta, and finally, Ladesha.
Arden itself is incredibly beautiful. She’s half again as big as your Earth, and is blessed with breathtaking mountain ranges that graze the sky in pink and cobalt hues, and forests so vast, you’d think they were purple-green oceans.
It wasn’t always like that, of course, especially at the dawn of our civilization, but as we reached the Age of Enlightenment – (AE) – eight thousand years into recorded history, we marshaled our resources, colonized the stars, concentrated our numbers within self-sustaining cities, and began the process of restoring our planet to the glory it possessed at its birth.
It’s a wonder to behold: Seven major conurbations – Rhomane, Cumale, Floranz, Locus, Genoas, Napal and Elan – surrounded by sweeping grasslands or pristine snowfields. To better serve the needs of our culture, we spread our population centers across all four of our main continents. We have other cities, of course, but none serve the function that the major metropolises do.
Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behavior. At the dawn of our race there were many different religions. As time passed and we overcame the divisive influence those beliefs seemed to cause, we came to a better understanding. However, illumination wasn’t achieved until we began to dip our toes into the endless reaches of space.
At its height, our empire was vast and our technologies world-shaking. The further we delved and the more we searched, the more evidence we unearthed at how structured the Milky Way and the entire universe seemed to be: From the tiniest quarks and leptons; to the infinite reaches of the heavens; the clusters of galaxies; superclusters; megaclusters; and mysterious shadow-energy everywhere, holding everything in place. Simply put, we discovered everything seems to be connected. When you look at those various marvels to scale, each look like the inner workings of an ultra-cosmic brain. A big clue, for we came to view such synchronicity as evidence of design at play. And with so much evidence of design, somewhere out there must be its designer.
You don’t walk down the road and find a simple brick wall miracling itself into existence do you? And with something so much more defined, so intricate as our bodies, our brains, our world, we began to entertain the notion that, perhaps we shouldn’t scoff at the idea such things of grandeur and complexity wouldn’t form by chance either.
We call our Creator, Pherôn, a he/she/it who views all life as sacred.
Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? Because of my work, I tended to spend much of my time in the forums of many of the inner colonies. When on Arden, I traveled extensively between Kirban, Viléth, Orianne, and Asten, the major continents. (That’s why I looked forward to my breaks in the country so much). However, all that came to an end when the Kresh outbreak began.
Now? As you know from Exordium of Tears, I’m one of the crew aboard the Avenger class dreadnaught, Shadow of Autumn, on a mission to the Verianda Nebula where the Kresh outbreak arose. What happens there waits to be seen.
Name and describe a food from your world. That has to be brégvan, a vegetable that looks much like a red cabbage from your world on the outside, but appearing much like a tomato inside. It’s spicy, crunchy, high in vitamins and can be eaten raw, mixed in with a salad, or hot as an accompaniment to a meat dish.
Having sampled some of the rare delicacies to have survived the transition from Earth, I would say the only way to describe its taste, is a combination of mild chilli-chicken and lettuce? (But I’m told, lots of things taste like your chickens?)
In any event, it’s one of my favorite foods and is simply divine on picnics.
What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) From what I’m told, you are already aware of the fact that our government is similar in many respects to something you once possessed on Earth when the Roman Empire held sway?
The Senatum is a governing institution representing homeworld and all thirty colonies. Senatum comes from the Ardenese word – sentia – which holds connotations of “elder” and “experience”. Thus, you get an idea of an assembly of older, worldly-wise individuals with the maturity and experience to represent the people from a more balanced vantage point…(If only, eh?)
We are voted into office via elections, and then hold our positions for several years. Distinguished by long, ivory colored robes clasped at the shoulders by bronze brooches, we are divided into two broad houses: Those who serve through political acumen and those who are better suited to scientific pursuits.
Politicians hold the honorific, Gul, and are identified by a purple border along their collars and cuffs. Scientists are addressed, Psi, and posses blue trims. (Thus my name, Gul Shaní)
Now, chief amongst us is First Magister Sariff. You know this because of the gold pins adorning his vestments.
Directly under him are the heads of each division. Chancellor Calen, for the scientists, and Consulan Pulígio, for the politicians. Both of them are recognized by their silver clasps. However, you might note that I also possess silver brooches? That’s because of my rank, Deputy Magister, identifies me as Sariff’s second. He has the weight of thirty-one worlds to contend with, and cannot be everywhere at once. I, therefore, speak with his authority on all but the most serious matters. Indeed, during the normal course of the Senatum, it is I who control the floor and the debates that rage back and forth, therein.
It requires a calm mind and a steady temper. Although at times I wish I had my mastig to chivvy some of the diehards along in their longwinded deliberations.
Our most significant task was to function as the peoples’ representatives, and see to it that the law and governance of our communities were administered fairly through a tiered system of administration.
Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another?
In the far distant past, we certainly did. But by the time we’d reached the age of enlightenment, national borders were dotted lines consigned to history. The betterment of our species as a whole became the overriding focus, so, within a few thousand years AE, there were very few genetic reminders of our ancient origins. That usually surfaced in darker eyes – we tend to possess a uniform aquamarine, topaz blue coloring – and as you might have noticed, Ardenese people display a predisposition toward blonde or auburn hair. Now and again, a dark-haired individual does pop up, and the ladies especially are in awe of someone who, to them, possesses the ultimate fashion accessory.
Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. I believe an individual called Elvis came to live on one of our colonies after his time of Earth had finished? But I might be mistaken.
What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? Before the fall, it was extremely sophisticated. By the use of applied science, we had eradicated disease and infirmity; revitalized barren worlds; could create matter from focused thought alone; cross vast distances in the blink of an eye; mimic life a wide variety of forms at the nano-level; and render the densest objects negligible by warping the very fabric of their texture to our will.
Thankfully, I’m not a materialistic person, so I don’t miss some of the comforts I used to enjoy…If anything, I miss my horses more than anything.
Within your civilization what do you think is the most important discovery/invention?Forewarned is forearmed. So, without question, the rip-space drive theorem that allowed us to do away with faster than light travel, and concentrate instead on folding hyperspace. Before its invention, the shortest distance between two points was a straight line. Rip-space did away with that by tearing through spacetime and connecting both departure and arrival points simultaneously. Almost instantaneous travel. Unfortunately, we now know of the mutagenic effect the release of such energies caused. Nonetheless, it was a magnificent achievement, and allowed us to expand into the stars and explore strange new worlds. One day, I hope we’ll be able to iron out the traps hidden within its matrix…then who knows what might happen.
Thank you for having me along, it’s been most entertain, discovering more about the customs and practices of people from other worlds. I do hope we get the opportunity to chat again some day J
Book(s) in which this character appears plus links
Exordium of Tears
Andrew P. Weston
Website/Blog/Author pages etc.