The Imperial Colonies
Scattered across the fringes of the known world, the Imperial Colonies cling to existence in some of the most remote and inhospitable places in Kelbonnar. Whilst many of them have been established on the continent of Zastral, Imperial Colonies can be found all over, established in areas that do not come under the jurisdiction of one of the provinces. Imperial Colonies serve all kinds of purposes, from providing raw materials, to acting as prison colonies, to military bulwarks and research stations.
The Imperial Colonies is not in itself a physical institution, but is instead a collective term to describe all of the Imperial Colonies that exist across Kelbonnar, so that they can easily be referenced. Each Imperial Colony is independent of the others and they all tend to be very different in character, primarily because they have all been founded for specific reasons, be that access to resources, or strategic placement or research purposes. Regardless of their purpose, all Imperial Colonies are run by a Colonial Governor, who is appointed by the Emperor of Turelion and Kelbonnar to run the Colony on their behalf. Governors will always have a staff below them to help then carry out the various duties that come with running their charges, but on the whole, Imperial Colonies tend to be much less well-resourced than the Provinces and they run on much more of a skeleton staff. This means that in general, Colonial Governors have to get involved in far more than their counterparts, the Satraps in the Provinces.
Demography and Population
Whilst from an economic point of view there might have been much separating those who find themselves in an Imperial Colony, once they are there is really only one thing that separates the populations of most colonies; those who want to be there and those that have been forced to be there. A pillar of the Imperial justice system is the oft used option to send people to undertake relentless, back breaking labour at the end of the world. Very often even if an individual serves the whole of their sentence, a transportation sentence to the colonies is effectively a life sentence, as very often they are not able to scrape together enough money to buy their passage back. People sent to serve out sentences in the colonies are often sent to Zastral to toil in the lonely continent’s mines and until they serve their time are kept in secure holding pens when they are not working. Those who specifically choose to go to an Imperial Colony tend to do so either because they have a specific purpose in mind, normally at the behest of an institution or of someone else who is paying them, or because they hope to make their fortune. Skilled, free workers are in high demand in the colonies and wages are substantially higher there than in any of the other provinces of the Empire of Turelion, which makes applying for a position in one of the colonies an appealing prospect amongst many of the downtrodden poor. However, in most cases, the grim living arrangements, dangerous working conditions and isolation from the rest of the world, combined with the very real prospect of them not being able to save enough money to barter a passage home, means that even for those who choose to live and work in a colony freely, the situation becomes just as much a period of incarceration.
Territorially, the Imperial Colonies as a whole encompasses a mishmash of city state like areas that are claimed by the Empire of Turelion, but which are not part of a province.
All Imperial Colonies are required to defend themselves rather than relying on help from the wider Empire, primarily through the use of a militia formed from the colonies more trustworthy and reputable inhabitants, or through the hiring of mercenaries to act specifically as a colony’s permanent defence force. Certain colonies are provided additional military support from other imperial institutions. The Isle of Grief and the Isle of the Lost prison colonies have garrisons provided by the Imperial Inquisition, whilst The Bastion, an island colony just off the southern coast of the Worfal Tundra has become a military base garrisoned by troops from Norgantho Province to protect it from attack from Nova Norgantho.
As Imperial Colonies are not primed or designed to implant a religiosity on the people that come to live in a colony, the religious make-up of each will be determined by how many adherents of a particular faith find themselves in the same place. As people from all over the world are either forced to join, or choose to join a colony, people of all faiths and none can be found in such places. On the whole though, given that many of the people sent to live and work in the colonies have been forced to travel there in recompense for crimes committed in the Empire of Turelion proper, the inhabitants of most Imperial Colonies tend to be less religious on the whole than the settlements and cities in the provinces.
Agriculture & Industry
For the most part, though there are exceptions, little agriculture takes place in the Imperial Colonies as they tend to be established in wild, remote places that aren’t suited to widespread agriculture. Most of the colonies are geared towards industrial purposes, mostly the extraction of raw materials that are then exported to the Empire of Turelion. For example many of the colonies in Zastral are geared towards exploiting the mineral wealth of the continent. However some are also geared up to exploit resources discovered in the ruins of the Lost Civilisation of Zastral, Lightening Orbs in particular.
Trade & Transport
Their locations at the edge of the known world means that for the most part, the Imperial Colonies are hard to get to and are rather isolated from the Empire of Turelion. Exactly how much contact a colony has with the wider world is very much down to the reason that the colony in question was founded. On the one hand, colonies such as the Isle of Grief and the Isle of the Lost, are well connected to the rest of the Imperial transport network, primarily because their station as prison colonies means that there is a lot of shuttling back and forth moving people around. On the other hand the colonies on the continent of Zastral tend to be the least well connected to the rest of Kelbonnar. On Zastral it is primarily the colony of Port Belliotrix that has the best connection with, principally because the colony was one of the first founded on the continent and because it acts as a depot for resources produced in other colonies on the continent. Whilst the colonies in and around the Centric Sea can be reached relatively easily without any additional arrangements having to be made, the colonies on Zastral are generally only reached by maritime convoys that set out in the spring and autumn, hoping to make the journey to and from the lonely continent before the storms that lash the Ocean of Lasimar in the summer and winter set in. These convoys are primarily geared to bringing as many new colonists and essential supplies to the Zastral colonies, and to take as many resources produced in the area back to the wider Empire as possible. The only other way to reach the Zastral colonies, other than by boat is take an expensive flight on an Albatross Model Firewing, the only type of Firewingg that is able to make the journey from the southern tip of Norgantho Province to Zastral. Generally only organised or sponsored expeditions travel to the colonies this way, as it would be inordinately expensive for any but the wealthiest of individuals to charter a flight.
Formal education is practically non-existent in the Imperial Colonies. Life in any colony is tough and those that are there have little time to focus on anything more than surviving to adequately raise children. Few children are taken to Imperial Colonies, and those that are born there tend to only receive education from whichever kind hearted souls happen to be in the colony who have the knowledge, time and inclination that they are willing to impart on a promising child.
The Fringes of the World
Colonials / Pioneers / Fools and Disreputables (derogatory)