Worldbuilding Wednesday: Litany

(All Worldbuilding Wednesday posts are here, and as always, you can ask questions about this or any other Parhelionverse thing on the Tumblr blog! These posts aren’t necessary to understand the comic, but they might be handy for summarizing context. Patreon backers can read one post into the future.)

TYRANT DOSSIER: LITANY

Yima Family internal use only. Leaks will be detected and summarily punished.

SPECIES: Unknown/Composite (They’ve appeared humanoid at least a century before humans could have reached their territory)
ALIASES/FORMER NAMES: The Eternal Choir, The Silent Majority, The Council, Midnight Parliament
HEIGHT: 5’11” (In current form)
AGE: Unknown, at least three digits (Given physical/mental turnover, this is disputed)
NOTABLE CHARACTERISTICS: Planet has a slippery relationship with life and death. Mind is divided among dozens of souls (for lack of a better term), with occasional turnover.

POLITICAL STANDING: At war with Basilisk
Mutual indifference with Warden
Trading barbs with Inkling (within reason)

TERRITORY: One (1) planet, roughly 6800km in diameter; predominantly marsh, many sprawling necropolises, three million unambigiously-alive people at most
60-200 vassal states and territorial holdings (frequently either through subterfuge, or annexed so long ago that no violent enforcement is necessary; the exact number is hotly disputed)

ANALYSIS: The oldest Tyrant by far. Other Tyrants are long accustomed to a political order with them as the gravitational center. Litany sets the rules, calls meetings, oversees treaties, and whips Tyrants into line against external threats.

Some property of Litany’s planet (magnetic field? biological agent?) is conducive to ‘spirits’; the minds of the dying can flee the body and maintain cohesion. (A variant of Boltzmann Brains? Researching them has yielded no insight on this, but there’s not a better theory.) Their primary planet is full of nearly-dead nobles, determined to stave off oblivion for personal or legal reasons.(1)

The specific minds making up Litany come and go, but their number and age give them unparalleled memory and insight. For any crisis, Litany knows a hundred precedents- but deciding which one to apply is another matter.

The oldest, most authoritative minds are the most ossified, and the newest are no paragons of compromise either. Litany’s mind is frequently gridlocked to hell, but when they take action it is a magnificent, overwhelming show of force. People tend not to make the same mistake twice around Litany.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS: Since Basilisk’s ascension, Litany has dismissed them as another petulant challenger to be summarily crushed- and they’ve been wrong. However, urgency hasn’t made their minds any less gridlocked.

Reports are scattered, but one tremendously convincing analysis suggests that war is around the corner.

(1) Whether they actually count as ‘dead’ is a matter of some dispute, though they can typically bribe people to their point of view.

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