Like Lave, this is one of the Old World systems, with just a single planet and star. It
has now been in a state of anarchy or civil war for some five hundred years and it seems very
unlikely that a stable government will ever be successfully established, since the anarchic
attitude is so ingrained in the planet's culture. Social stability depends on large family groups
or clans, and minor wars between them are continually breaking out, keeping the thriving arms
importers busy. There have been attempts in the past to start up local weapon manufacture, but
typically family rivalries tend to end up with the factories being destroyed. Indeed there is no
heavy industry to speak of because the investment required to build a factory is far greater
than that to destroy it.
Slavery here is rife, as captured members of rival families are either used as slaves on
their vast farms, or sold on the open market to generate foreign currency to buy arms. The
major battles tend to be seasonal, mainly since most of a family's income is spent on
weaponry, and much of their income comes from the grain harvest, once every 131 days (a
local year). Each family tries to get its harvest out as soon as possible, so it can wipe out its
hated rivals before they get their order of weapons. Quite often a hard pressed family will be
almost out of ammunition immediately before harvest, so this is a good time for a rival to
attack. It has been known for families to cooperate, especially distant families in different
hemispheres (since the seasons occur there at different times) but these agreements rarely last
more than a few seasons.
The harmless Riedquatian mouse is much prized for its delicate meat and extremely
soft fur, used to make the much treasured 'mousemat' coats, sold throughout the known
worlds. Many families farm them, and there is still a thriving population in the wild. A wild
mouse is particularly treasured if found scavenging on a battlefield, as the flesh is supposed to be especially succulent.
Entry by David Braben