Absent

Culture of abandonment

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bsents straddle the line between tangible groups - and legends. This is because no one on Excilior can tell you how a Absent looks, sounds, or behaves. For anyone born of casterway parents, they have never seen an Absent. For those who arrive on the planet via excilation, they have most likely seen many Absents - but they have no memory of them. Their memories were thoroughly wiped before being deposited onto Excilior. So Absent is a generic name used to refer to all those living in the society which has banished the casterways to this planet.

Deductions About Absents
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he only things "known" about Absents are those that can be deduced from the scant clues they have left behind. For example:

  • Everyone arriving via dropship has been human. Therefore, it's presumed that Absent society is also human, or at least consists of a significant human population.
  • Everyone who endures excilation speaks Komon. Therefore, the Absents should speak it as well.
  • One of Excilior's most legendary figures, Cervia Polonosa, was a fighter pilot in the Tallonai military - and the Tallonai are a human race. When she first encountered Excilior, she understood it to be an "uncharted world" and she believed she was exploring an unpopulated star system. Therefore, the human population of the Absents are not Tallonai and they either communicated rarely with the Tallonai or they were using some type of subterfuge to actively hide the world of Excilior from prying eyes.
  • In addition to Tallonari, Cervia also spoke Komon. Therefore, the Absents and the Tallonai must have some common history in the not-too-distant past, even if they didn't seem to be in regular communication at the time that she crashed.
  • Although Cervia believed this star system to be unpopulated, the dropships that transport men to the planet's surface are strictly short-range vessels with practically no guidance or propulsion systems of their own. Therefore, there is a human population of Absents living somewhere in the general vicinity, or they must go to great lengths to transport each individual to Excilior.
  • And while next-to-nothing has ever been glimpsed of Absent technology, they clearly possess the ability to fashion advanced reentry vessels employing metallurgy and electronics. The fact that those vessels always land in almost the exact same spot on the planet's surface implies that they have powerful computing and navigational technologies at their disposal. And assuming that any of these facts are true, this would indicate that Absent technology - and most likely, the civilization as a whole - is evolved far beyond anything seen on Excilior.
The deductions don't end with the Absents themselves. If their existence is assumed, then casterway mythology has taken it one step further by defining their presumed home world: Absentia. While most cognoscenti are onboard with the idea that there is some kind of group, somewhere out in space, that fulfills the role of the Absents, they are much more dubious about the supposed existence of Absentia.

Depictions of Absents in Casterway Society
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he general attitude toward the mysterious Absents is one of derision. Whoever they are, whatever their motives, it's accepted fact that the casterways are utterly cut off from their presumed progenitors. This reality has led many to think of the Absents as angry gods. Or, at least, cruel and indifferent gods. And they have frequently been portrayed as such in casterway culture. They are often shown being larger, stronger, and taller than any casterway, although there is no tangible evidence to support this. They are sometimes rendered as having animal masks, or actually being part-animal in nature. They are also typically presumed to be vengeful, spiteful, and petty.
 
Legends & Adoration
But this does not imply a universal hatred for them. There are many theories for the reasons behind excilation, and they don't all assume nefarious intentions from the Absents. Also, given that they almost certainly have far-advanced technologies, many sects throughout time have come to see the Absents as god-like figures. They have been worshiped, prayed to, and offered sacrifices. Statues and temples have been erected in their honor. Many legends speak of ancient men who could somehow commune with the Absents. And of course, there are multiple legends of casterways who eventually found ways to return to Absent society. These legends range from the purely mythical or spiritual (i.e., people rising through the clouds to meet their benevolent makers in a beatific triumph) to more of a science fiction bent (i.e., brilliant cognoscenti who somehow solved the challenge of space travel and reunited with the Absents). In none of these legends has anyone ever proffered evidence of the hero actually coming back or sharing their newfound path to Nirvana with anyone else still stuck on the planet.   One particularly wistful opinion about the Absents is that they are still "up there", always watching, and monitoring every event that ever happens on the planet. Under these legends, they are ultimately waiting for some sign - an epic test that must first be passed - thus signaling that it is finally time for them to reach out to their alienated casterway brethren and call them back home.

Communication Attempts
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epeated attempts have been made to communicate with the Absents. Or at a very minimum, people - and, at times, entire societies - have made copious attempts to signal to them. These signaling efforts typically take the form of giant writings that have been spelled out on land or sea. Sometimes the letters are set ablaze. In other instances, entire cities have been laid out in such a way that their streets and buildings would spell out some kind of message when viewed from far above. Slingshots, catapults, and trebuchets have been deployed to launch bundled messages into the heavens - sometimes to comical effect.
 
Waving to Heaven
The skies have also been scanned for centuries by hopeful and anxious astronomers in a continual attempt to glean some kind - any kind - of message from the heavens that could ostensibly have been sent by the Absents and meant for the eager souls of Excilior. Of course, any time someone searches too hard for any particular "sign", they are inevitably bound to find it in some way. And history is replete with one stargazer after another swearing that he has cracked the code and he can now "read" the stars in a way that will reveal the hidden messages that the Absents so desperately want to convey to the casterways.   Despite all these efforts - over thousands of years - there has never been a single verified case of any message ever coming down from the heavens. No one has ever been able to prove, beyond a charlatan's flimsy tales, that anyone up there, be they Absents or otherwise, is making any attempt whatsoever to communicate with the planet below - or to even acknowledge the messages that many on the planet have tried to send up.


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