- "A terror once banished from memory stirs again on a world of bones."
- — Ta’l Krynn, Desoleum Soothsayer
Desoleum is a Hive World in the Askellon Sector that is dominated by three enormous hive cities, into each of which a population of dozens of billions is crammed, though accurate counts are impossible to undertake and the true figure is likely to be several times greater. The planet's pre-eminent hive city is the eponymous Desoleum, sometimes called Desoleum Primus or colloquially elsewhere as Prime. The triad of Hives Desoleum, Jarvin, and Suzzum, the latter two named for the nigh-legendary figures said to have founded them, account for the bulk of the industry on the planet, while countless lesser hive cities and manufactorums are to be found throughout the world's radioactive wastes.
The planet's surface is barren in the extreme and apparently once hosted a xenos species. Savants disagree over details about the race, but look to the blasted landscapes of liquefied sand and hundreds of bizarre cyclopean structures seemingly sculpted from the kernels of long-vanished mountains as evidence it destroyed itself with terrifyingly potent weaponry, and is safely long extinct. The destruction dates back many millions of standard years, when large expanses of the world's outer crust were subject to such terrific heat that the mountains themselves ran liquid before cooling in glass-like plains of exceptional, if mildly radioactive, purity. Much of the glass now exists as a subterranean layer beneath drifting silicate deserts. When the first human settlers made planetfall and discovered this rich resource, they recognised its value instantly and established what is generally held to be the second of the Founding Worlds of the Askellon Sector. For many thousands of standard years, the glass of Desoleum has driven an industry that produces a wide range of derivatives, especially the sector-renowned lasweapon-focusing lenses.
As its population soared and the hives grew, a secondary industry processing ration supplements has developed over the millennia. Bulk organics harvested from the seas of other worlds are imported, and rendered into thick, protein-rich gruel that is used to feed the larvae of the Irokian bile-fly. Having reached the optimal stage in their life cycle, the larvae are pulped, compressed, and shaped into notoriously greasy (and universally loathed) ration biscuits used to feed worker-serfs and military forces across the sector. The processing plants where these ration bars are manufactured consist of gigantic air-sealed breeding pens thick with countless trillions of larvae. Each of the planet's hives has its own facility, usually located at the very lowest habitable level of its structure. Needless to say, only the very poorest and most downtrodden of serfs are willing to work or live near to these facilities, for the levels all about are steeped in the vilest of stenches and vibrate with the constant drone of the creatures bred within.
Out in the shifting sands beyond the walls of Desoleum is Port Gyre, the world's primary transportation field. Vacuum transit-tubes and bulk roadways connect the sizeable port with Primus and the other great hives. A ragged circle of ramshackle settlements here caters to a nomadic population of workers, traders, and down-and-outs. There are also lesser starports near the other hives, but their operations are limited to serving bulk lifters; these import gigatonnes of raw materials, such as organics to produce the hated ration packs, so there is always much traffic both in and out of the star system.
The Wastes of DesoleumEdit
The lands all around each of the three great hives consist of wide areas of desert and acidic seas formed from waste liquid spills. Further afield are dune seas covering glassy plains; the colossal ruins that puncture these areas are often dangerously radioactive and infested with foul creatures or worse. Littering the wastes are slagheaps the size of cities, mined for exotic raw metals and ancient technologies, with vicious battles between groups eager to claim any riches inside for themselves. Great toxic oceans connect the continents; each is filled with mutated life, and the depths are rumoured to contain creatures larger than Imperial Battleships slowly drifting along the glowing bottom.
In the depths of the planet's wastelands are also lawless tribes that raid transport convoys and loot the ruins for their own purposes. Most are barbaric, while a few use highly advanced weaponry, but all are extremely dangerous. Some are amenable for trade or to act as expedition guides, but they can quickly turn violent depending on the destination or relics discovered.
Hive Desoleum PrimusEdit
- "Look upon the crowd below and know this -- for each honest and Emperor-fearing citizen, another harbours discontent and the seed of treachery in his heart. For every two such malcontents, a third plots against his betters. Out of each hundred such plotters, one has the resolve to act. Now realise this -- Hive Desoleum is home to billions. How many, then, are there all around us, ready to drag this place into oblivion?"
- — Overheard along a mid-hive habway, from persons unknown
Legend has it that the eponymous and most populous of the three great hive cities of Desoleum was founded during the Great Crusade. The plains of solidified minerals attracted human industry very quickly, and it became a major foundry for the war effort, producing Lasguns by the millions. The hive contributes large numbers to the Desoleum Involute Cadres, and at least one division is permanently stationed near the great hive for the city's defence from threats from both within and without. Those Cadres drawn from Hive Desoleum are highly regarded, providing manpower to the Desoleum Oathsmen Grenadiers, the world's Astra Militarum regiment known for its expertise in prosecuting urban threats.
The Consortium of Desoleum PrimusEdit
The ultimate masters of the hive city of Desoleum Primus, the Consortium, exist at the apex of a rigid hierarchical class system of fealty and servitude. The hive is ruled by the maintenance of unimaginably strict bonds of obedience, enforced by the implementation of a network of oaths that intertwines every single level of its highly stratified society. This complex web links every possible sphere of life, regulating everything from the subtlest of manners to the span of standard years a worker-serf can expect to live. All hivers carry a special cogwork device that indicates their work area and their oath of servitude. Those above them hold these oaths in their own oath-cogs, micro-embedded as tiny wheels, each an intricate snowflake of brass and wire. The more dominions under an oathholder, the more elaborate the device. Lady Desoleum's oath-cog, encompassing the entirety of oaths throughout the hive and across the planet, is supremely ancient and dense, a massive snowstorm of whirling cogs that takes standard years to alter for new oaths. It is brought out only for affairs of state, as it is far too heavy for normal wear. Entire cloisters of Mechanicum drones exist purely to maintain its proper functioning, and legend says that should it freeze up, the hive would surely collapse.
The higher up the pyramid of oaths, the more formalised these oath-bonds become, the most ancient and binding of them set out in charters written Terran millennia ago on parchment so old they are stored within impregnable stasis caskets. At the very bottom of the pile, even the lowliest beggar is bound by the oaths of his station, and any deviation from convention is met with righteous indignation, soon followed by brutal retribution. Strangely, even behaviour outsiders might regard as criminal is regulated by the strict codes, for oath-bonds are far more binding than any rule or law could ever be. To be cast outside of the oath is the ultimate punishment for any hive native, and most would prefer death than to be known as Oathless.
The hive's oath-bonds manifest most powerfully in the systems by which its industries are managed, and by extension, how Desoline society itself is regulated. At the most seemingly mundane level, the actions of each individual worker-serf are a matter of profound oath, dictating the fulfilment of his work quota and every aspect of his duty to his overseer. That overseer is himself answerable to his own masters by way of a still-more complex web of oaths, and just as easily removed from his position should the terms of those oaths be broken. Higher up still, the numerous industrial and mercantile bodies that rule over entire regions of the hive city impose their oaths upon countless millions of subjects, and are bound to one another and to the highest echelons by still more. All of these interests are bound together in the form of the Consortium, from whose ranks is elected the city's ruler. Of course, the web of oaths that tie society together make universal suffrage entirely unnecessary: the only individuals entitled to vote are the Lords and Ladies of the Consortium themselves.
At present, and indeed for much of the world's history, the pre-eminent ruler of Hive Desoleum has held the office of Planetary Commander by dint of the sheer weight of power. The other two great hives are reluctant subjects, however, and at times their own leaders have conspired to usurp Primus' position through subtle assassination or outright war.
The Consortium is made up of several hundred mercantile interests of many different types. Some are small dynasties controlling relatively minor concerns; others are mighty indeed, controlling many and diverse segments of Desoleum's industry. The largest of these are referred to as the Great Houses, and account for around a dozen interests. The most well-known of the Great Houses of the Consortium are Gotha, Rhomana, Kotromahn, Elden, Konstant, Grym-Zollern, and Rosa. All other than Rosa have held their seniority for many generations, while Rosa is a new entry into the ranks of the Desoline Great Houses. Exactly how it engineered its meteoric rise is unknown, though vicious but unsubstantiated rumours abound.
Many believe that the Consortium is dominated by factions dabbling in things illicit or illegal for the common hiver, far beyond the casual petty cruelty or pleasurable indolence in the clouded heights. There are indeed many shadowed societies amidst the ruling interests, adherents of all manner of debauched and forbidden pursuits. Many in the Cascades and other dark underlevels of the hive know of one; named after their prized raptors, the perfumed butchers of the Feathered Pinions are infamous for the savage sport they make upon their human prey.
Anatomy of Hive Desoleum PrimusEdit
Like many of the Imperium's great hive cities, Desoleum Primus is formed into a mountain of plasteel resembling a termite mound of impossible proportions. The highest point, known as the Apex, is host to the seat of power of the hive's, and indeed the world's, ruler, Lady Aud Killian, the hereditary Lady Desoleum. Most of the actual ruling is conducted through the Consortium, a body concerned with profits and the continuation of business concerns that have stood for countless generations. Though there is much infighting between factions within the Consortium, there is relatively little actual war between the members; most factions instead use proxy forces such as gangs or bribed Sanctionaries when actual violence is required.
The uppermost point of the Apex penetrates the edge of the planetary atmosphere itself, with a spike of indestructible metal called the Spine, reaching several kilometres into the void. The Spine descends through the middle of the hive into the depths underground, penetrating below even the Underhive and the Dark with no termination that any have found. Many theorise that it is vital to supporting the hive beyond mere structural support; legend even has it that the Spine always existed, and it is the hive city that grew around it. The Apex houses the cream of the hive's nobility along with powerful Imperial representatives, and an exquisite Ministorum Shrine that serves them as well as sufficiently faithful off-world dignitaries. There are several small shuttle pads along the outer skin for the elite, so they do not have to pass down through the squalor and dangers when travelling away from the hive.
Beneath the Apex is the Upper Hive, sometimes called the Pinions, where the Great Houses of the Consortium operate and the majority of the hive gentry live. The worker-serfs living further down-hive can only dream of the luxury even the lower tiers here exist in, the most privileged enjoying actual sunlight filtered through windows affording them grand vistas of the expansive cloudscapes below. Despite the unimaginable luxury of these areas, they are atrophied and declining. The ancient, little-understood archeotech systems that sustain them are slowly falling to disrepair. Growing areas of the upper reaches are now sealed off from habitation, though some still find use for secretive meetings or illicit activities. Like their environs, the oath-cogs of those within the Upper Hive are incredibly ornate as befits their high station, but many are becoming tarnished and even inoperable.
The great bulk of Desoleum Primus is the Main Hive, often referred to as Desoleum City, an area that accounts for the large majority of its population and industry. Businesses operated by the houses of the Consortium dominate this region, and these oversee almost all facets of life in the hive. Those areas not set aside for hab housing contain enormous manufactoria producing the hive's main exports. Massive refrigeration systems cool the upper levels of this area, for the factory heat is intense. Many metres of greenish frost often accumulate along the ceilings, making for a thick barrier between the Upper and Main Hive. Huge icicles of frozen, polluted water also form here along the hive's outer edges. These often break off after forming into chunks hundreds of metres long, creating terrible scars in the hive's outer skin as they rip down its length with screaming sounds audible even in the hive interior.
This area is host to all classes, and is the highest level that Consortium-affiliated gangs can expect to travel unchallenged, so long as they are about the business of their masters and not intent on overt violence. The line between the Main Hive and the endless reaches below is indistinct and in places highly variable. The lower one goes, the more the air becomes more stale and humid, and the light more dim and unreliable. Rain comes from foetid waters dripping down through the levels, coating all with oily liquids. While there is no firm divisor, there are plenty of guards to prevent Underhive scum from roaming too far above their station; some areas even have huge barricades and fortresses to protect valued areas situated in the lower Main Hive. Along the rough border areas are thriving protection rackets that keep the scum away from the trading posts and habs. The border is defined more by the extent to which the Sanctionaries are willing and able to patrol, the area beyond becoming the domains of gangs, outcasts, and worse. Their main concern is that the scum does not drift up to invade the Main Hive and they have no concerns about who passes downhive or why.
The true depths begin at roughly ground level, where a few ill-maintained roads and passages exist leading to the surrounding wastes. The Underhive is home to those who have abandoned their oaths as well as those who know nothing of such things. The gangs here are the worst to be found in the entire hive; names such as the Oath-Breakers and the Hive Worms are used to scare up-hive children to bed and Main Hive merchants to pay up. Most hivers will never hear of such hells as the Cold Reaches or the Red Drippings, let alone visit such vile places, but many have heard of the Cascades or the infamous Gorges, where the inhabitants are said to be ravenous for anything or anyone they can capture.
Below the Underhive is an area that makes that region appear organised and law-abiding in comparison. This is the Dark, extending so far into the planet's crust it is impossible to chart, though the Spine is always present no matter how far down one ventures. Huge lakes, created from aeons of effluent draining down from uphive, form in many regions the farther down one descends. Monstrous creatures dwell in these seemingly endless depths, hidden in the black waters until revealed by the ghostly lights flickering on their massive hides when they rise to feed.
Hivequakes periodically strike Desoleum as its massive bulk shifts and settles, making the Dark even more dangerous; caverns collapse as supports fail, but ancient areas are revealed anew, drawing many to seek out any treasures within. Legends say that wondrous archeotech devices exist in the Dark, such as gravrepellers that can lift starships, inexhaustible power sources that draw from the very tension of reality, and nightmarish guardians that kill with whispers. To find so much as a shard of such wonders would elevate even a foul stumper to the highest echelons of the hive's society overnight. There are large settlements here, larger than any above would imagine, where mutants, heretical worshippers, and other terrors live and scheme and fight with each other. A few dare venture into the Dark in search of treasure, thrills, or the monsters that roam in the sputtering light and heavy air. Fewer still return.
The Sanctionary Bondsmen of the Oaths InvoluteEdit
Given Hive Desoleum's impossibly strict canon of oaths and codes, it is hardly surprising that the city should employ an especially uncompromising law enforcement body. The Sanctionary Bondsmen of the Oaths Involute, more often referred to as the Sanctionaries, act to maintain order in the hive, but this is in practise the lesser part of their duties. Rather, the Sanctionaries are ever-vigilant for lapses in the rituals of the oath-binding. Should a Sanctionary witness a Desoline act in any way counter to the strictures of his oath, the offender is summarily censured, often brutally. Those offenders occupying the lower rungs of the hives' society are punished by the immediate application of a highly ritualised beating, while those further up the scale are more likely to suffer other fates, such as a ritualised dismissal from their post. Those at the upper echelons of Desoline society are just as likely to be punished for their transgression as those at the bottom, but the punishment must be administered by a Sanctionary of sufficiently senior rank. The Sanctionaries themselves wear large and ornate oath-cogs that act as badges of office, but also as brutal melee weapons, a visible reminder to any would-be oathbreakers.
The Iron Heart of DesoleumEdit
The great spires of Hive Desoleum are ruled from the glittering heights, and slowly rotting from the Underhive up, but it is in the industrious Main Hive that the true purpose and life of the city resides. Countless, vast manufactoria produce innumerable armaments and devices to feed the Imperium of Man's war machine every day, staving off the dissolution of the Askellon Sector for just a little bit longer. The bulk of Desoleum's midhive bustles with innumerable labourers maintaining and working in massive manufactorum plants day in and day out. These dutiful workers abide carefully by the guidance of their oath-cogs and serve their lords to the best of their ability. Over the many standard centuries of toil the midhive has seen, little has disrupted this multitude for long, from food riots to distant wars. However, even the sturdiest foundation may give way to rot. The seemingly respectable and dependable core of midhive life conceals a dangerous level of deviancy, crime, and unrest. Although the midhive does not approach the lawlessness of the lower levels outside of a riot or other disaster, it is still far from a safe place for those without influence or power.
The mark of the Ignaius Arms plant on a Lasgun is known as a stamp of quality throughout the Askellon Sector, for the focusing lenses produced there are without peer. This sterling reputation and much-desired product provide the spire nobles who own the plant an endless stream of income, much of which they have wisely invested into the careful maintenance of the manufactorum that is the source of their wealth. The workers at Ignaius Arms take rightful pride in the quality of their product, and willingly endure long shifts to ensure that the honour of their brand is not defiled by shoddy workmanship. Just beyond the hearing of these proud workers, rumours fly back and forth as to just how Ignaius lenses are made. The precision of their manufacture is called into question by envious foremen of other plants, or even attributed to hidden machines of inhuman manufacture deep within the bowel of the plant. If there is any truth in these rumours, it is well-guarded, but eventually the proud workforce of Ignaius Arms (or the even prouder owners) shall hear of them, which could possibly end their satisfaction with the current state of affairs.
The Jade FoundryEdit
Control and maintenance of manufactorum plants is typically the responsibility of sponsoring noble houses from the hive spires. However, some plants produce technology too rare, unique, or advanced to be left in the hands of technological laypersons, and are placed in the direct supervision of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Jade Foundry (so-called for the vivid emerald hue of the display screens on the equipment produced there) is one such plant. Advanced auto-fabricators in the care of the senior Tech-priests assemble capacious components into sensorium arrays for voidships. The auto-fabricators are a technological wonder beyond the capability of current Magi to reproduce, and can assemble a full sensorium array in a scant few solar months with sufficient materials -- barely the blink of an eye compared to the normal pace of voidship construction. Unfortunately, certain lower-ranking Tech-priests in the techshrines of Desoleum have grown envious of overseers of the Jade Foundry, and crave stewardship over the revered auto-fabricator units. Reports are filtering up to the highest Magi in the Askellon Sector that the Jade Foundry has been poorly maintained and that its caretakers have neglected crucial maintenance rites. If an inquiry is launched, it could shut down production for solar decades.
The Grand Shrine of the OathEdit
Although humble compared to the gilded marble edifices patronised by the spire nobility, the Grand Shrine of the Oath is the oldest and most revered of cathedrals used to convey the Imperial Creed to workers on holy days and festivals. Its well-worn pews can seat tens of thousands at a time, but such is its prestige that many times that number seek admittance to its hallowed halls when the work-shifts wind down for religious observances. Even a festival that frees one man in a hundred from his labours sees a hundred thousand petitions to attend the services held in the central Oathroom. Naturally, it is quite impossible for the shrine to admit so many, and most petitioners and pilgrims are sent away, redirected to a lesser house of worship. Most workers phlegmatically accept their dashed aspirations, but there are often those who resent being turned away. In the past, riots have sparked from the protests of high-producing shifts being turned away after a record standard year of production, or from unpopular and brutal foremen being let in ahead of workers seen as more deserving of the honour.
The Worker's HouseEdit
The Worker's House is one of the few respectable places of leisure in the Main Hive. Its patrons are free to indulge in everything from hard liquors and hot meals to games of chance where they can wager their meagre salaries. The hostel maintains the privilege to offer frivolities by sending out a crop of indentured workers (usually those who indulged too freely and became indebted) to fill in for any solar hours of productivity lost as a result of these activities. This rare source of respite has long been a release for countless hive workers. Even those who can't afford attendance console themselves with the promise of an evening at the House after the next shift, or the one after that. However, over its long history, the Worker's House has run up against the increasing pressures of ever-higher work quotas, and has had to become sterner with collecting debts in turn. The promise of indulgence is slowly turning sour as more and more workers are seen working a double shift after a single night at the House.
Sworn Collectors of the Tithe ImmutableEdit
Although crime and gang rule may be the way of life in the Underhive, a more respectable way of handling such matters exists in the levels above it. In the Main Hive, those with a talent and knack for small-minded violence and thuggery are employed by the spire nobles as Sanctionaries. Some work as foremen or shift heads in particularly gruelling conditions. Others join "work brotherhoods" such as the Sworn Collectors of the Tithe Immutable -- a gang legitimatised by the sponsorship of higher authorities. The Sworn Collectors are tasked with increasing the incomes of the nobles who sponsor them. In theory, this would be a futile effort, as the workers they shake down barely have enough to interest the near-criminals of a work brotherhood. The truth is more complicated, as nobles primarily use the Collectors to target those working in the plants of rival families. Efficiency at these plants often plummets as workers grow hungry, bruised, and agitated. As harming the efficiency of manufacturing is a serious crime, the Sanctionaries have forcibly disbanded the Sworn Collectors several times, only for it to be reconstituted with new members at the behest of their sponsors.
Minders of the ShiftEdit
All of Desoleum's "work brotherhoods" are essentially legalised gangs, but some put more emphasis on legitimacy than others. For many centuries, the Minders of the Shift have been a loyal if ruthless method of maintaining shift discipline. Their enforcers hunt down any labourer who misses a work-period and ensure he reports in properly, as well as ensuring any lost production is paid back. When quotas are high, the Minders hire out as additional foremen in order to put the fear of the God-Emperor into the production lines. Unfortunately for this proud if somewhat distasteful tradition, recent leaders of the work brotherhood have been more concerned with the Minders' profits than their task. The focus of the Minders has been turned towards collecting the bounty on truant workers instead of towards deterring truancy. Some workers have been lured off-shift by promises of bribes or outright deceit only to be turned in as evading work, while some Minders have even turned in random passerby for bounties, pitting their word against their captive in the hope of pay.
"The Den," as its patrons typically refer to it, is a typical example of the less-reputable type of leisure hall in the midhive. There are more like it seeded throughout every hab-block, subject to regular raids by both law enforcement and the more respectable work brotherhoods. However, Ludmilla's Den is especially problematic in its persistence. Raids have shut it down several times, only for the mysterious and rarely-glimpsed proprietor to reopen elsewhere. These events have given it a dubious allure that exceeds that of the competition, and unsavoury characters from many hab-blocks away come to find it when it sets up in a new location.
The Shattered FoundryEdit
The manufactorum formally titled "Work Plant Zero-Zero-Alpha-Five" on the official documents of Desoleum has earned another name among those who walk by its towering walls -- the Shattered Foundry. Its machinery and its halls are wholly intact and free of damage, but repeated incidents of malfunction and disaster have claimed many lives over recent years, building a superstitious dread for the place among the locals. The Adeptus Mechanicus closed the plant down nearly two solar decades ago, only adding to its dark reputation across many hive levels. The Tech-priests have found nothing to indicate the repeated accidents were anything but random chance, and are likely to pronounce it once again safe to operate. If they do, it is likely that whatever work crews are assigned there would riot rather than pass through its gates; the punishments of the courts pale compared to the grim legends that have built up around the Shattered Foundry.
Outworlders in Hive DesoleumEdit
On the face of it, there is scant reason for outsiders to visit Hive Desoleum, and every reason for them to conduct their business through brokers experienced in the myriad subtleties of the oathbinding. In fact, a great many outsiders come to Desoleum Primus, for the profits to be made are simply so tempting they would be foolish not to. The hive has several "stranger's quarters," where off-worlders feel relatively safe to conduct their affairs, and these have grown into highly cosmopolitan and exotic places themselves.
While many come to Desoleum Primus to engage in perfectly legitimate mercantile ventures, there are plenty that come there to take advantage of something entirely different. The Faceless Trade in illicit xenos relics and other heretical items rules here, for the wastelands are host to more than raw materials and inert xenos ruins. Deep beneath glass strata are often found crystalline tunnels leading to the cached remains of the dead alien race that once ruled the planet, and these items find their way back to the hive city and beyond, reaching nobles eager for new thrills or vile cults seeking icons for their blasphemous deities. Smugglers here take enormous risks, the least of which being the implications should the Sanctionaries catch them. Of far greater danger is the threat to their souls, for Chaos almost universally befouls the artefacts. Some even claim that the reason the long dead xenos destroyed themselves was not war, but a desperate act to forestall some terrible doom and vanquish the Ruinous Powers that sought to claim them. If true, it was woefully in vain, for evidence of their contagion spreads far and wide in the secret cargo holds of ambitious traders.
Others come to Desoleum as an act of pilgrimage, for sector lore states that its wastelands were the scene of a mighty battle fought during the dark days of the Great Heresy. Innumerable tales are told of the sacrifices made by the people of Desoleum to throw off the shackles of the Warmaster Horus and aid the Emperor's Space Marine Legions in casting out the Traitors, each different and each a glorious recitation of Desoleum's valour against those who would conquer it. Thousands of devout worshippers arrive each day as part of a grand pilgrimage that takes them across the plains and through the hive, from there travelling to Thaur and the other Holy Stations of Askellon. Countless vessels run this route. The mightiest is the Oath Unspoken, flagship of the Anzaforr Rogue Trader Dynasty. This Dauntless-class Light Cruiser passes frequently between Desoleum and Thaur as part of its ongoing penance for its blood-soaked trade war with the rival Surena Dynasty solar decades ago. Most pilgrims die along the way, but are content knowing their souls will complete the journey to become one with the Emperor's grace even if their bodies could not.
Manners Maketh the MenialEdit
To the worker-serf of Hive Desoleum, life is an endless ritual where every single gesture, intonation, and deed is undertaken according to the rigid codes of the oath-binding. An entire class of scribes called the Oath-Factors exist to record every possible variation, and to formalise new ones as they arise. Many outsiders come to regard the oath-binding as far harder to learn than the most outlandish of planetary dialects of Low Gothic, and most employ specialist translators when dealing directly with the hive's merchant houses. Indeed, even the most lucrative of contacts has been known to collapse in utter ruin because an outlander angled his head to the wrong degree or imbued a single word with the incorrect intonation, thus shattering an oath-ritual. While some natives are used to the ignorance of outsiders, others are unforgiving in the extreme and refuse to brook even the slightest oath-breach, no matter how innocent.
Desoleum is served by four major void stations. Kappex Orbital is in geostationary anchor above Desoleum Primus, and serves as the system's main spaceport, as well the as location of much underhanded deal-making and smuggling. Two others in low orbits are defence stations manned by the Desoleum Involute Cadres, the world's native Planetary Defence Force. The fourth is in a high, elliptical polar orbit, and is actually a natural body that somehow attained this unnatural orbit. It has a large luxury facility for those with wealth and means, and services a clientele that ranges from the nobility from below to visitors from afar, both legitimate and criminal. The truths of what happens here are far worse than any of the gossip told by the envious.
Departmento Cartographicae Planetary DatabaseEdit
- Government Type: The Consortium, a ruling council of mercantile nobles
- Planetary Governor: Lady Aud Killian
- Adept Presence: High, but limited to areas specifically set aside for outsiders and off-world interests
- Geography: Polluted wastes covering planetwide plains of hardened silicate flows. Numerous alien structures across the entire surface; numerous noble houses in the hive cities with major holdings across the sector.
- Military: Desoleum Involute Cadres (PDF), Desoleum Oathsmen Grenadiers (Astra Militarum regiments)
- Economy: Major exporter of silicate derivatives mined from the plains and used in numerous military and voidship applications. Secondary export trade in ration packs and Laser Weapons.
- Tithe Grade: Exactus Prima
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (2nd Edition) (RPG), pp. 328-335