|Allies||Kurokawa through Devil's Due|
The Celestial Realm, more widely known to outsiders as the Grik Empire, is a territorial, aggressive, expansionist, millennium old empire that began in eastern Africa around 1,000 years ago. The empire is almost entirely composed of the Grik species and functions as a horde structure. Organization (outside of a basic government structure), culture, education, and health is held to little regard within the empire and they are highly hostile to all those they encounter with the exception of other Hunters.
As of yet there are no known official historical records created by the Grik making there history highly speculative.
Old Grik Empire (1,000 B.C? - 1 B.C?)
Though the Celestial Realm, as of today, show little sign of what most people consider to be culture, other than basic living environments and a hunter/pack mentality, it is speculated that at one point, early in the empire's history, artistry and culture were held to a much higher standard than it is today. This can be seen in the ancient Grik city of Old Sofesshk (located in eastern Africa along the Zambezi River) as the city is described as being far more colorful than any of the modern Grik cities, elaborate architecture can be seen in the city as well which isn't found anywhere else within the empire though as of today much of the elegant architecture is left to ruin and hidden behind more crude refurbishments. One such example still standing is the Temple of the Vanished Gods, also within the city of Old Sofesshk, which is a massive red painted pyramid structure, another more modern pyramid can be found in "Grik City" on the western coast of Madagascar however it is described by a Dennis Silva as a giant "cow flop". Directly across the Zambezi River is the city of New Sofesshk which contrasts the older city as it is largely composed of canvas, wood, and basic adobe structures. A Grik general by the name of Esshk, while observing the city of Old Sofesshk from New Sofesshk, once reflected: "It's as if at one point the Empire focused on more than just expansion and conquering alone." It is unknown as to what happened to the Grik after their foundation in eastern Africa to cause this change in culture or how long this transformation took but eventually they began a massive territorial conquest of all surrounding areas.
Grik conquest (1 A.D? - 1942 A.D)
Eventually they began their expansion into the remaining areas of the east African coast in which they discovered expeditions of Lemurians from Madagascar, the homeland of the Lemurian people. It is uncertain as to how the two races originally reacted to one another but what is known is that eventually the Grik began expanding into Madagascar on a genocidal campaign causing the massive exodus of Lemurians (dubbed "The Tree Prey" by the Grik) into the Indian and west Pacific ocean. Over the course of hundreds of years they slowly claimed vast amounts territory in the Middle East, Persia, and India. It is unknown if there were any inhabitants living within the Middle East or Persia but abandoned cities and architecture of non-Grik origin has been found throughout the subcontinent of India. Eventually they came into contact with a lone British East Indiaman ship during the 1700s, after devouring the majority of the crew the Grik copied the design and made it the standard naval and civilian design. At the height of their empire, in 1942, they held territory in all of east Africa, Madagascar, the Middle East, Persia, Indiaa, Saa-lon, South East Asia, Sumatra, and several islands within the Indian ocean. The Celestial Realm was more than capable of capturing even more territory much sooner however it is common practice of a Celestial Mother to slow their progress as they feared that one day all of the world would become theirs and if so there would be none left to fight other than themselves.
Japanese encounter (1942 A.D - )
In 1942 the Grik Empire encountered the Japanese battlecruiser the IJN Amagi which was transported to the New World via The Squall. Upon their first encounter the Grik attempted to attack the battlecruiser to no avail and the Grik fleet involved in the affair was virtually wiped out. After the incident the Grik decided upon an audience with the newly met Hunters and a cooperation was agreed upon. The Japanese, under the leadership of Hisashi Kurokawa, began designing modern (yet extremely crude) weaponry for the Grik such as iron hull steam ships, smooth bore cannons and muskets, Dirigibles, bombs, torpedoes, and later fixed winged aircraft though the latter two have only been seen in use with the Grik under the command of Hisashi Kurowaka at his Kurokawa's Japanese Empire in Zanzibar and it is unknown if the Celestial Realm have attained any.
The head of state of the Grik Empire is a "divine" monarch known as the Celestial Mother, a female Grik who rules with complete authority. She resides within the Celestial Palace in Grik City, Madagascar. When a Celestial Mother dies new candidates are chosen from the Celestial Bloodline by the Lord Chooser to enact in a public display of a battle to the death in which the victor is pronounced the new Celestial Mother. If all of the combatants die the Lord Chooser much choose another batch of worthy females of the Celestial Bloodline. The Grik have never given thought to a back up plan if all of the Celestial Bloodline is to die. If the victor is too young to gain the throne then the First General of the Grik must become Lord Paramount Regent Champion of the Celestial Realm until the female comes of age.
Beneath the Celestial Mother are Lord Regents who control specified territories. Each Lord Regent has considerable authority over how his Regency is ruled. It is not uncommon for regencies to engage in minor wars with one other to dispose of a surplus population, entertain their Uul, and to settle rivalries. Even so their subordination to the Celestial Mother is unchallenged. A few known regents include; Halik the regent of Indiaa and Shighat the regent of Persia.
Society and Culture Edit
See Grik Species for the sociobiology.
The Grik species physically mature much faster than they mentally mature. Most Grik are fully grown by the age of 3 however mental maturity isn't achieved until around the age of 10. Between these ages they retain the mentality that they are born with which is very primitive and animalistic. Between the ages of 3 and 10 their undeveloped minds are unable to comprehend complex tasks or even the most basic philosophical thoughts such as "why" thus making them extremely obedient until mental maturity is achieved however upon that point in their lives they have already been bombarded with the Celestial Realms wildly constrictive culture which promotes mass group-think and weeds out any abnormality of thought, such as pacifism or philosophy, that they usually retain their obedience, that obedience belonging to the Celestial Mother and the Horde which in turn promotes the animalistic and barbarian behavior that they are originally born with. Due to their natural born barbarian nature, that they are encouraged to retain, they hold art, science, and philosophy to little if not any regard. They are known to copy ideas and designs which are not their societies own, such as the East Indiaman ship design, while discouraging new ideas from their own, as that would be against the norm, and those who do would be made prey (weeded out).
The Grik population of the Empire is estimated to be numbered in the millions though the majority of the population consists of Uul. The Empire's form of "medicine" usually consists of prayer to the Celestial Mother and this is only held for the higher ranking Hij though as of late a more modern, though crude, form of medicine has been incorporated.
The hierarchy and social status of the Grik within the Empire consist of two categories, the Uul and the Hij.
The Uul are the worker/warrior class of the Celestial Realm. They are semi-sentient youngling (yet physically mature) Grik (usually between the ages of 2-3), that have limited self-awareness and are incapable of independent thinking due to their young age. The Uul serve as the Empire's main civilian workforce and military power. They have been noted to be incapable of complex operations but can preform simple tasks with accuracy and determination when given much practice and subordination. This and the great numbers of Uul made them the backbone of the Empire's industry and military. Any industrial process that could be divided into simple manual stages could be preformed, given with a large number of Uul, with almost machine-like precision and speed.
The majority of the Uul do not live long enough to reach full mental maturity as they are used as cannon fodder for combat or slaughtered for food and are seen as a disposable asset within the civilian workforce and military that can be easily replenished due to the fast nature in which the Grik breed. Any remaining Uul who live to reach full mental maturity may be elevated and given more complex tasks as well as positions, a few may even be elevated to the status of Hij.
Among the Uul there are numerous sub-classes including the offspring of high ranking Hij, specialized warriors, those with some measure of useful skills, and those at the bottom are considered nothing more than livestock.
It has been noted by Courtney Bradford that the Uul bare a strong resemblance to the worker/warrior class found within ant society, though the mechanisms behind them are quite different (Uul are Grik denied the opportunity to mature while the caste system in eusocial insects is determined at birth)
Most Hij are born into their position or chosen at a young age by the Lord Choosers however, as mentioned previously, a few may be elevated to the status from the Uul. The Hij, due to them being allowed to reach mental maturity, preform all of the intellectual, cultural, and governing roles in the Empire such as; military officers (who keep the military Uul in line), workforce directors (who keep the worker Uul in line), artisans, bureaucrats, scientists, choosers, (who decide the fate of Uul) and other positions.
Hatchiling (not an official status) is the term used to describe the infant population of the Grik Empire. They are divided into three categories; aggressive, defensive, and passive based upon their behavior shortly after birth. Due to the standards of the Empire's society the defensive and passive hatchlings are usually used as a food source as the Grik favor the aggressive nature over the others. As of recent years the practice of killing and devouring the defensive and passive Hatchlings has been abolished as proposed by Hisashi Kurokawa as he saw the potential of a new form of military thinking. At this time it is uncertain how this change has effected the civilian population of the Grik.
Females are a minority within the empire due to Grik reproduction genetics. They are not allowed to fight in battle or work however the few of the Celestial Bloodline are allowed to rule albeit with very limited authority under the Celestial Mother. The vast majority of female Grik are regulated to breeding duties and are kept well fed and away from harm. Alliance members, during the conquest of Indiaa, noted that nearly all of the female Grik were heavily overweight, extremely lazy, and somewhat docile due to their lifestyle and Grik culture.
The Grik Empire is, probably, the most industrially powerful faction of The New World due to their uncanny ability to use Uul instead of machinery. The Uul worker is incapable of complex operations but can preform simple tasks with great precision and determination and a large group of Uul in concert can preform complex industrial processes when divided into simple manual stages.
This unique ability allowed the Grik Empire to build and expand their industry quite rapidly: instead of designing and perfecting machine tools they use specially trained Uul for the majority of fabrication operations. Due to an almost unlimited supply of labor the Empire is capable of matching any industrial nation in terms of productivity.
The Grik economy outside of production isn't well known. It is known that some trade exist between regencies but it's unclear if the Empires population have any concept of money or their economical activity is just a barter system. Any trade and merchant activity is to be preformed only by and between the relatively small number of Hij; the Uul within the population acquired goods through centralized distribution or pillaging.
External politics Edit
- Kurokawa's Japanese Empire in Zanzibar - Official relations are in place. Currently in an alliance.
- Union of Homes - State of war, no official relations.
- Empire of New Britain Isles - State of war, no official relations.
- Holy Dominion - Limited contact with several representatives, current relationships are unknown.
- Republic of Real People - Aware, a diplomatic mission was sent by the Grik for cooperation however the Republic refused to answer. As of now the the two are in a state of war.
- New United States - No contact, quite possible that the Grik Empire are unaware of their existence.
- League of Tripoli - No contact, quite possible that the Grik Empire are unaware of their existence.
- Czech Legion - State of war, no official relations.
- Shogunate of Yokohama - No official relations, possibly unaware.
The Grik Empire's military is divided into two separate military doctrines; the Traditional approach and the Modern approach.
The Traditional approach is simplistic in nature. A commander designs basic battle plans and allows his warriors free upon his selected rout of choosing, free to do and fight however they choose to do so. This doctrine usually calls for mass assaults with overwhelming numerical superiority. The Modern approach is more complicated. It incorporates a chain of command with commanders in the field with their troops in the hopes of counteracting sudden changes in a battle's events. It also encourages using the strengths and weaknesses of different weapons in unison, for example; in a Traditional battle plan troops with modern equipment such as muskets will be thrown in at random with regular Grik infantry in a mass assault, in a Modern battle plan units of musketeers will be trained specifically on how to use their weapons and will be formed in separate individual units to support their sword and shield wielding brethren.
Many Grik remain conservative to the traditional approach and deem the modern approach as an insult to their culture, many traditionalist also consider the modern approach as a completely noneffective and incompetent form of war. This has lead to wide spread rivalry between regents within the Empire as of recent years.
The traditional Grik army was almost entirely composed of Uul foot soldiers, controlled by a small number of Hij officers. Traditionally, only the most aggressive Grik hatchlings were chosen to become soldiers (the rest were used for feed). This led to a favoritism toward aggressiveness with little regard to defensive behavior which generally hampered the discipline and made it virtually impossible to incorporate any other tactics other than an all-or-nothing frontal attack, disallowing and discouraging flexibility as well as new forms of thinking.
Grik warriors caught practicing defensive fighting were considered a weakness and were often killed for food and entire Grik armies found to be retreating were often destroyed by incoming "friendly" armies for cowardice.
The traditional Grik tactics were fairly primitive. After the troops were placed on position and the signal to advance was given, by the commander, almost no control over the troops could be established due to Uul warriors lack of discipline and blood rage. The combat came down to superior numbers, fear factor, and pre-battle deployment.
The weaponry of the Grik army was generally swords, clubs, spears and their own claws and teeth. Soldiers often wore leather protection and carried shields. Only a limited number of Uul warriors was able to operate more complex weaponry, like crossbows. And even fewer were capable of operating the firebomb throwing catapults using "Grik fire".
After the first crushing defeat of the Great Swarm at the Battle of Baalkpan Bay, that the Grik had ever experienced, the Grik Empire, for the first time in their known history, found itself under the threat of actual outside invasion and destruction, a thought that never occurred to the majority of the Grik. To avoid the catastrophic consequences, the Celestial Mother (under Hisashi Kurokawa's influence) allowed for the first decree of military innovations in both technology and tactics.
The most important part of the program was the abolition of previous policy of considering only the most aggressive grik hatchlings military-capable. During the series of experiments (quite brutal) Kurokawa proved that the less aggressive hatchlings (that were usually devoured) are actually more capable, in military terms, since they weren't as prone to mindless rage and were much more easily disciplined. Thus the practice of eliminating the non aggressive hatchlings was abolished and they were selected to form a new "defensive" troops for the Grik Empire capable of using advanced tactics, disciplined training, and use of modern weaponry. Kurokawa also stopped the tradition of killing the defeated grik warriors, using them as junior officers for their combat experience.
The modern Grik army (such as General Esshk's and Halik's) are generally composed of "defense" troops, well disciplined and capable of understanding tactics. They often subjected to body modification (like the removal of claws) to make their hands more effective in working with firearms. Individually, they are still less capable and effective than average human or lemurian troops, but en mass are capable of fighting almost as well.
The new type of Grik army used old weaponry as well as firearms. The main infantry firearm is based upon the tanegashima,a japanese-style matchlock musket, roughly .80 cal. The weapon is considered crude and prone to malfunction in bad environments, but still gave the new type of Grik army a large advantage over the older type.
Grik also employ a large number of artillery pieces, build with Japanese technical help. Their main field artillery is a 9-pdr smooth-bore gun, as well as lighter 4-pounder and heavier 16-pounders which are also common. As infantry support weapon, the firebomb-throwing light catapults using "Grik fire" are often used.
The traditional Grik navy for the last two centuries was the main invasion force of the Grik Empire. It was composed generally of Grik Indiamen, reverse-engineered from the captured HEIC East Indiamen in the 1700's. The Grik recognized the superiority of this design over their fairly primitive ships and made the Indiamen the basic for all their future designs.
The captured indiamen didn't have any artillery aboard so the Grik were unaware of firearms at the time. Their main naval combat tactics became boarding actions, with the additional use of firebomb-launching catapults.
Due to the more complex naval environment involving complex tasks such as operating sails, etc, the Grik navy crews were generally better-disciplined and more thoroughly trained and less prone to all-out attacks than the Grik land forces were. Grik navy captains are fanatically devoted to the Empire (they have been witnessed to kill themselves rather than being captured) and are capable of complex tactics. Still, the quality of Grik Uul crews are much lower than that of the Alliance or Imperial navy and they are prone to dangerous accidents.
Just before the Great Swarm defeat, a number of Grik Indiamen were armed with crude smoothbore cannons, designed and build with japanese aid however none were present at the Battle of Baalkapan.
After the destruction of the Great Swarm it became apparent that the traditional Grik navy was completely outdated and outclassed and unable to provide the benefit that the Empire required. With the help of Kurokawa's japanese, Grik started their rapid industrialization, which allowed them to quickly move to more advanced design.
Under the control of Kurokawa along with his innovations, the new steam and ironclad Grik navy was designed and build. Due to the unmatched productivity of Grik Uul workers the entire naval program took less than a year.
The new Girk navy was build around steam ironclad warships, the Arata Amagi Class Battleships and Azuma class cruisers were the first of many "futuristic" designs. Initially their armor (made of cast-iron plates) were too brittle, but later warships were re-armored with rough iron plates, which made them almost completely invulnerable to smooth-bore artillery. Still, they were slow, and while well armored, they have a significant weak point, a lack of underwater compartmentalization, which made them very vulnerable to torpedo attack.
The Azuma-class ironclad cruisers were designed to serve as escorts for battleships and they became the main multipurpose combatants of the Grik Navy, many Alliance members considered them more dangerous than the Arata Amagi class battleship. Smaller and less armored than enormous battleships, the Azuma-class cruisers are faster, cheaper and more sea-capable. Their main defect is the lack of armored deck, which made them very vulnerable to the aerial attacks and plunging fire.
The Grik navy also possessed a large number of paddle-wheel steam tugs, used generally for barge towing and cargo transportation. Some of those ships, armed with cannons, were also used as gunboats.
The main armament of modern Grik navy ships are smooth-bore artillery. The standard heavy gun (used on battleships) is a 100-pdr smooth-bore cannon and the standard light guns (used on cruisers) are 40-pdr or 60-pdr smooth-bores. The less powerful artillery, 2-pdr, 4-pdr, 9-pdr, 16-pdr are usually placed on armed Indiamen and transports. As additional weaponry Grik cruisers often carried firebomb catapults. The threat of Alliance aviation led to the improvements in anti-air armament as well: Grik battleships and cruisers are armed with a large number of 3-inch high-angle mortars, capable of firing canister shot at the advancing planes. This weapon was later augmented by the grik anti-air rockets.
Air force Edit
Due to the Japanese influence, the Grik Empire was the third power (after the Dominion and Alliance) of the New World to develop their own air force and the first to commission lighter-than-air aircraft, Dirigibles. This was largely due to Kurokawa's misleading; he was able to persuade Grik that heavier-than-air aircraft are outside of their capabilities due to the lack of the "magical" element called aluminum.
The first Grik airships were commissioned in 1943 in Indiaa. They were rigid airships, commonly known as "zeppelins" (they have wooden frames and are thus closer to the Schutte-Lanz design of airship). Hydrogen-filled, they are about 20,000 cubic meters in volume and are powered by five, 80 hp. gasoline motors. Their design wasn't perfected due to the lack of time and they are quite prone to gas leakage and other accidents. Still, they have remarkable range and payload, and can easily be massed produced, which allows the Grik Empire to send powerful air raids.
The Grik air forces were first used during the Ceylon (Saa-lon) campaign, to strike against allied fleets and bases. The first attack launched on the insistence of regent Tsalka. While it was considered successful it was also considered a false start as by this time Kurokawa was still not ready to launch major a counteroffensive as he originally wished for the Dirigibles to be first used during his offensive to have the element of surprise. Soon after a raid on Balk-pan occurred. The Grik airships were used intensively in Indiaa, where they proved to be effective as bombers but took heavy losses due to allied fighter aircraft.
After the Alliance captured Madagascar, the Grik Empire, under general Esshk's control, launched a series of intense nighttime air raids against the Allied-held Grik City that was comparable to The London Blitz. During these attacks new tactics, like the connecting the airships with wires to prevent allied planes from flying through the formation, and weapons such as light canister-firing swivel guns on board which were used to give the airships a better chance against allied fighters. The losses were manageable for the Grik.
Air defense Edit
The Grik Empire is only known fraction of the New World (other than the Grand Alliance) who created dedicated anti-aircraft weaponry for protection against Alliance aerial attacks. Their first anti-air weapon was a 3-inch smooth-bore mortar put on a high-angle mount and capable of firing canister shot of lead ball and debris. This weapon was generally used to protect field troops and ships from low-altitude attack but was essentially useless against high-altitude aviation.
In 1944 the Grik Empire (with possible Japanese help) started to produce anti-aircraft rockets powered by black powder. Initially they were capable of reaching the altitude of no more than 5,000 feet and were provided with contact fuses however they were susceptible to friendly fire as they would fall back down upon the Grik crews who fired them. Their most effective means was to fire them in a mass burst, this would often cause destruction upon the ground crews, as a safe measure Grik crews were stations in mostly remote areas.
By late 1944 a new type of rockets, with improved explosive warheads and a time delay fuse, were commissioned. They were capable of reaching the altitude over 6,000 feet and could be set to detonate at the specified altitude (more or less, because of variations of rocket fuel burning). They represent a much more potent anti-aircraft weapon, capable of reaching even the best allied built aircraft. The first witness of this was during a scouting mission which discovered rocket batteries that were deployed around Old Sofesshk to provide protection from possible air raids.