Never to burden us again
xcilation is the process by which casterways are transported to Excilior's surface. Arriving on the planet has nothing in common with traditional means of planetary reentry. Everyone who has ever endured excilation has experienced a dangerous, one-way journey that leaves the passenger unsure of where they are or how they even came to be here.
There is, presumably, a greater human society beyond Excilior, but casterways have no memory of that civilization. They don't even know what it's called - but they have come to refer to their progenitors as the Absents. Those arriving via excilation have had most of their memories wiped clean. They can remember bits of their core personality. But they can't grasp anything about the Absent society from which they came.
xcilation always occurs in the exact same way. Passengers are placed in single-man containers known as dropships. These vessels are designed for the singular purposes of lowering one person from orbit to the planet below. They are never designed for more than one person. And these "ships" have the curious property of disintegrating within a month-or-so after descending. This has the practical effect of ensuring that whatever population exists on Excilior can harness no technological knowledge from the dropships. They always land in roughly the same location - dead-center in the middle of the Dropship Seia. Assuming that the casterway has survived the process, they will eventually float to solid ground - typically, the island continent of Islemanoton.
Excommunication and Isolation
he life endured by casterways has been compared with excommunication. It's clear that there is some kind of broader human civilization - the Absents - that is somewhere... "up there". They sent the first arrivals to the planet. They continue to jettison another man, every day-or-so, to the planet's surface via excilation. And the Absents clearly have the advanced technology necessary to send people down to an alien planet in single-use pods, with the curious trick of making those pods disintegrate completely, soon after their purpose is met.
But in the entire history of Excilior, there is not a single recorded incident of anyone on the planet ever making contact with, or receiving communication from, any of the Absents. Casterways have no knowledge of the Absents' customs. Beyond the obvious evidence of the dropships themselves, there has never been a single, additional, verifiable piece of evidence proving that the Absents even exist. There are no emissaries sent from the parent world. There is no known attempt on their part to "check in" on the happenings down below. There has never been anything but utter silence from Excilior's progenitors. This silence is presumed to be the desired state-of-affairs for the Absents. After all, Excilior is a distinctly primitive world by the standards of their parent civilization. They have no space travel. They have no radio communications. They don't even have electricity. So it can hardly be expected that casterways would be initiating communications back to their home world. If any channel were to be established between the two, that initiation would almost certainly need to come from the Absents. And in the thousands of years of world history, that has never happened.
fter thousands of years, the basic mechanisms of excilation are known. What is still a mystery, even after all these millennia, is why excilation even happens in the first place. The fact that every newly-arriving passenger remembers almost nothing from their original world spawns a myriad of theories for how they came to be on Excilior. Extensive efforts have been made to interview new arrivals as soon as they land in Dropship Seia. There have also been desperate attempts to preserve and study whatever technology exists in the dropships. To this date, none of these efforts has proven fruitful in the slightest.
The Prison Colony Theory
he most commonly-accepted theory for the existence of excilation is that everyone sent to Excilior is a criminal in the broader universe and has been sentenced to spend the rest of their life on this planet. Arguments in favor of this theory are:
Anecdotal observations have noted that an unusual percentage of arrivals seem to exhibit overly-aggressive or antisocial tendencies.
A large percentage of arrivals bear tattoos or other markings that are typically associated with gang-or-underworld activity.
The prospect of sending criminals to an untamed world seems like a logical middle ground for those who don't believe in capital punishment, do not want to spend exorbitantly on an incarceration system, and yet want the criminal menace to simply "go away".
Although passengers remember nothing about their life before arriving on Excilior, it becomes clear after interacting with them extensively that an inordinate number come from socio-economic-demographic backgrounds that are prone to higher crime rates.
Sending only men to the planet creates a population that is, practically speaking, sterile. If a prison colony were to be created, the long-term, worst-case scenario from that colony is that one day, its descendants would revolt against the parent society, having felt rejected and neglected by their originating world. Sending only prisoners of a single gender is a simple way to avoid that potential, future problem. It has even been theorized that, somewhere in the galaxy, there is a second, sister prison colony where only female convicts are sent.
The Fertility Outcast Theory
ith the commencement of the Age of Cervia, it became possible, for the first time, for casterways to procreate. But they soon learned that the Plague of Men makes it difficult to sustain a viable population of fertile women. This has led some to hypothesize that dropship passengers were banished precisely because they have a genetic trait that dooms them to spawn an inordinate number of male offspring. Under this theory, the Absents were beset by an avalanche of male children. When it was realized that this was caused by a particular genetic mutation, a policy was enacted whereby all maturing men would be tested for this mutation and, if they possess the aberrant gene, they are exiled.
The Voluntary Escape Theory
lthough the Excilior-as-prison-colony idea makes sense to many, it has been pointed out that any hard evidence supporting this idea is highly anecdotal. This has led some to surmise that dropship passengers arrived entirely of their own free will. Those espousing this theory make the following points:
Many of the claims that dropship passengers are criminals rely on subjective, personal observations about the personalities or character of those who arrive. Not only are these claims impossible to measure or verify, but they lend themselves easily to observations that are rooted in racial, class, religious, or gender biases.
There is almost no direct evidence indicating why any dropship passenger has been sent to Excilior. Even referring to the journey as an "exile" is inherently speculative. Even though the dropships always disintegrate before any underlying technology can be dissected, there are no inspections of the vehicles indicating anything that can be directly attributed to a penal or incarceration system.
There are many conceivable reasons why a small number of people (e.g., only a few humans, launched every two/three days) may want to extract themselves from current society while erasing all memories of that which they've endured. Casterways could be men who have experienced great personal tragedy - possibly, for example, the violent loss of their families.
The Petri Dish Theory
ven if the casterways are brought here against their will, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are being punished, or have done anything wrong to deserve their fate. In fact, some believe that casterways constitute a long line of souls who have been sucked into an elaborate experiment of which they were never aware. Under this theory, the planet is a testing ground for biological, chemical, genetic, or even nuclear influences. Unsuspecting rubes were tricked into participating in these large-scale experiments and ultimately found themselves on the wrong end of a one-way ticket to Dropship Seia. Those adhering to this hypothesis believe that every aspect of casterway life has been closely monitored by the technologically-advanced Absents - wardens who watch things from a space-based vantage point and record every detail of life on the planet's surface. If this is to be believed, every movement, every development, every conflict, every alliance is observed and cataloged for the advancement of some greater experimental goal. If this particular theory sounds a tad too "tin foil hat", consider that, for many centuries, casterways have recognized that mutations happen in their population at an unexplained and unprecedented rate. Although the source of these mutations is completely unknown, this theory serves as a tidy explanation for those who are inclined to believe.
xcilation is the most consistent event throughout Excilior's history. Excilation created Excilior's history as we know it today. Before excilation, as far as anyone knows, the planet was completely uninhabited by intelligent life. When the first passenger arrived (estimated as happening in year 500 AoD), it marked the first time humans had stepped upon the planet. But those "settlements" were little more than desperate enclaves of angry men living out - as best they could - their remaining days in an unforgiving world. That desperation was defined by the fact that those first casterways had no means by which they could maintain any connection to the Absents that had sent them here. Furthermore, the new casterways had absolutely no benefits from their originating world. No food. No supplies. No facilities. Nothing. They were simply dumped onto the surface of a feral plant and left to fend for themselves.
Their desperation was also extended by one simple fact: Every person ever sent to the planet's surface has been male. This means that any hope these men might have had to possibly build their own society was moot before it could ever be conceived. They were all living out a life sentence in a vast prison known as Excilior.
Now that thriving cultures have been established across the planet, the continuing influx of arrivals can, at times, feel more like an inconsequential trickle of strangers. An afterthought. But in the earliest of days, the planet's entire population was dependent upon the steady influx of new arrivals. Mortality rates are believed to have been extremely high during the Age of Darkness and those who survived could not procreate, since they were all male. So any "society" that existed on the planet during this prehistoric time was entirely dependent upon a regular influx of "new blood". If excilation had not continued during the Age of Darkness, the entire human footprint on Excilior would have ceased long ago.
That being said, there have still been occasions, even in recent history, when a singular charismatic individual has arrived and ultimately changed the course of world events. And those changes have not always been positive. For this reason, some factions throughout history have advocated for the summary execution of all new arrivals. This approach is deemed necessary by some, even though everyone currently living on the planet understands that they themselves are descendants of those who have endured excilation.