Tallon

An unwitting sponsor

T
allon is the home world of Excilior's most influential historical figure - Cervia Polonosa. She was a pilot in the Tallonai military when she crashed off the coast of Islemanoton. Her arrival marked the end of the Age of Darkness and the beginning of all the civilizations that have risen (and fallen) throughout Excilior's recorded history. There is no more fateful event for Excilior than the day that Cervia's helioskimmer crashed into the Sister Seia.
 
As Told by Cervia
Tallon's existence has never, technically, been proven. No one on Excilior has ever been to Tallon. Nor have they seen it with their own eyes (because no one on Excilior has ever made it off the planet). In fact, there is only one person throughout this planet's past that had any knowledge of Tallon. Everything that is "known" of it comes either from the direct words of Cervia Polonosa, or is inferred from the cultural practices of the civilization that she built. Because Cervia identified herself as Tallonai, because she spoke a language that she referred to as Tallonari, because she wrote repeatedly in her journal that she was part of the Tallonai military, because she implemented a time-marking system that is now known as the Tallonai calendar, and finally, because she repeatedly talked, in person, and in her own journals, about having been born on a planet called Tallon, it is now taken on faith, and accepted as canonical truth, that there is, somewhere out there, just such a planet.

Scant Details
C
ervia was not shy. And on topics that interested her, she was happy to wax effusive. But when it came to Tallon, the information she provided was often brief. At times, she even seemed anxious to change the subject. This has been interpreted in a few different ways.
 
Cervia's Silence
Cognoscenti focusing on her ever-pioneering traits point out that she was never one to ruminate over the past. And she was loathe to waste mental energy on anything over which she had no control. So from that perspective, it's easy to imagine why she didn't write or say much about her home world. She was stranded. And after she was on Excilior for a few years, it became quite clear that she was never going home. So any effort spent wallowing in a distant and long-lost home world was, ultimately, wasted.   Others have theorized that she didn't speak much about Tallon because, on some personal level, the topic pained her. It's clear from her early logs that she fully expected a rescue attempt to be mounted. With all of her communication equipment having been destroyed in the crash, she debated with herself the best means to ensure that the rescue team would be able to find her. At night, before she fell asleep, she would scan the night sky, searching for any sign of a Tallonai retrieval mission. Some of her early logs included explicit references to her commanding officers, presumably under the assumption that, one day soon, she would be debriefing them on her findings - in person.   By her own account, there was never a rescue mission launched. Now, even she acknowledged that, with all of her Tallonai technology laying at the bottom of the Sister Seia, it was impossible to truly know if anyone was looking for her. In fact, from a technological standpoint, she was no more "advanced" than the violent and feral casterways that she encountered in the early days on the southern tip of Islemanoton. But after exhaustive reviews of all her writings, the cognoscenti have concluded that she doubted whether any rescue mission had ever been attempted. And most of her ardent researchers believe that, if this is true, she would definitely have been disappointed.
 
No Real Verdict
Of course, neither of these interpretations are mutually exclusive. It's quite possible that the perception of being abandoned was hurtful to her. And if that was the case, it's also perfectly feasible that she made the practical decision simply to "move on" in the reality with which she was faced.   Regardless of underlying psychology, the end result is that, to this day, casterway researchers know very little about the home world, and the parent civilization, upon which so much of their early society was modeled.

Relationship to the Absents
C
ognoscenti have debated, for many centuries, just what relationship - if any - existed between the peoples of Tallon and the Absents. Given that Cervia was a member of the Tallonai military, it's reasonable to wonder whether the Tallonai were in direct conflict with the Absents. In the historical record, she is famously silent on this subject. So it has been left to the academics to formulate their own conclusions.
 
A Lonely Mission
Cervia was clear in her assertion that Excilior was "uncharted'. So there's no reason to believe she was sent to the Syrus star system as an act of explicit aggression. And while she claimed that her helioskimmer had light armament, it was described as a "reconnaissance ship" and her account of its systems seems to back that up. It was equipped with minimal weaponry - presumably, to aid in "emergency" situations when she might have run into unexpected enemy firepower - but it was stuffed to the gills with all manner of probes and sensors.   Furthermore, she talked of her mission as though it was solitary. She never referenced any broader members of a formation and she never indicated that there was anyone in the immediate vicinity who would have known that she crashed. If she was involved in a tactical military operation, it's hard to believe that she, and her lightly-armored vessel, would have been expected to conduct such a strike while completely alone.   None of this eliminates the possibility of Tallonai-Absents tensions. After all, reconnaissance missions are conducted during peacetime and wartime. But if they were at-odds, it's doubtful that Cervia was a direct player in that conflict.
 
No Mention of the Absents
With regard to the Absents, cognoscenti have focused more on what Cervia didn't say, rather than what she did say. Specifically, she never mentioned a war - or a conflict of any kind. She never referenced any enemy, or any competing human society that may fit the (admittedly, vague) profile of the Absents. Neither did she ever indicate that she might have the slightest clue as to which civilization was responsible for the ongoing process of excilation. If the Tallonai were engaged in open hostilities with the Absents, it's hard to believe that she wouldn't have suspected them of being behind Excilior's unique circumstances. But if she was truly conducting a simple reconnaissance mission, to an "uncharted" system, presumably during a time of peace, then it would make more sense that she was sent off to complete that mission without accompaniment - and that she would have no idea of what was happening on this world once she crashed upon it.
 
Weak Links
Significant analysis has also been dedicated to the fact that Cervia spoke Komon (in addition to her native Tallonari), and all of the casterways speak Komon as well. This is taken as tangible proof that there must be some kind of connection between Tallonai and Absents cultures.   The problem is that some kind of connection could be any kind of connection - because the cognoscenti have no evidence whatsoever about the broader universe and the scope of human civilizations. It is theoretically possible that the galaxy houses thousands of distinct human civilizations. If that is the case, and they all stem from some ancient, shared progenitor, then it's also possible that they all have an ancestral grasp of Komon, even if they have not interacted with each other for millennia.   There is, at least, some anecdotal evidence to support the hypothesis that the Tallonai and the Absents were connected - but only by an ancient, shared basis from which they have greatly diverged. During some of Cervia's first casterway encounters, she confidently identified the fact that they were speaking Komon. But she also noted that theirs was an unfamiliar dialect and she admitted that it was challenging for them to understand each other - even when they were all, ostensibly, speaking "Komon".

Cultural Impact
C
ognoscenti have struggled to quantify the precise impact that the never-seen and never-experienced world of Tallon has had on Excilior and casterway societies. In terms of pure causality, it's clear that Tallon played a direct - albeit, unwitting - role in the growth of Excilior into anything more than a mysterious penal colony. A simple connecting of the dots indicates that without Tallon, there would be no Tallonai military, which would mean that Cervia Polonosa never would have found herself here, and the entire planet, to this day, may still be nothing more than a handful of desperate men waiting to die.   But as far as anyone knows, those dots were all connected through happenstance. Despite some wild conspiracy theories, there is no direct evidence to show that Cervia Polonosa was meant, by anyone, to end up on Excilior. So any "influence" that Tallon may have held over the planet is that which was simply tacked on because this world's most significant progenitor was originally born on Tallon and brought with her a handful of Tallonai beliefs and conventions.
 
The Shadow of Tallon
Across the entire planet, 16.7 million people speak Tallonari today. No one doubts that this language originated from Cervia Polonosa and that it is ultimately ties back to her home world. However, it's doubtful that someone traveling today, from Tallon to Excilior, would be able to understand much of what a casterway speaks in "Tallonari". After nearly four thousand years, it's inevitable that Tallon's version of Tallonari must have branched significantly from Excilior's.   The entire planet also conforms to a system of days-and-months that is commonly known as the Tallonai calendar. Different casterway cultures have assigned their own names to those months, but they all recognize that there are 6 months in a year and 60 days in a month. They also agree on the beginning-and-end markers of each year. But no one is certain how closely the "Tallonai calendar" of Excilior aligns with that which is actually used on Tallon. It's improbable that Tallon's solar cycle perfectly matches Excilior's. But Cervia never mentioned whether she made any deliberate adjustments to match what she observed on this planet. It's entirely possible that, on Tallon, the inhabitants recognize additional months, or that they have a differing number of days in each month. Without any further discoveries from Cervia's logs, these details may never be known.   Finally, the original civilization she founded, known now as Auld Cervia, and the descendant nations that now constitute Islemanoton, are referred to collectively as the "Tallonai" culture. Throughout history, this has led some of Excilior's Tallonai to romanticize the un-glimpsed "mother world" of Tallon, and to assume that there would be some kind of sibling bond between the two worlds if the Tallonai cultures on both planets were ever united.
 
Whose Influence?
But numerous cognoscenti have cast aspersions on these dreams. In early Auld Cervian history, many traditions and cultural mores were established. Frequently, these new ideals came directly from examples set by The First Mother. But it's unclear how many of these traditions began originally on Tallon, how many of them were practiced by Cervia merely because they were her own personal preference, or how many of them sprung up after Cervia's death, and therefore, would not hold even a tenuous link back to Tallon.   Despite all of this, there will probably always be an idealized dream of Tallon held in the minds of those who identify themselves as Tallonai. Hazy visions of Tallon have dominated Tallonai culture going all the way back to Auld Cervia.

Pronunciation TAHL-uhn
Type
Planet

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