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Paragon is not just a single world, but a confederacy of inhabited moons, void stations and other inhabited asteroids spanning the entire Paragon System. The name usually refers to the most prominent of these settlements, the Industrial World that is the sixth moon of Paragon VI, a gas giant locally referred to as "Mater Maxima" -- or "Great Mother" in Low Gothic.

As the seat of the designated Imperial Governor, Aronis City, Paragon's greatest settlement is generally considered the system's capital. Combined, the population and industrial output of these moons are roughly equivalent to that of an Imperial Hive World or a small Forge World, which makes them a vital recruitment zone for the Astra Militarum.

Paragon's wealth and level of industrialisation is famed throughout the sub-sector and beyond, which explains why most of the Paragonian Regiments raised there are armoured regiments or mechanised infantry. Although not under the political jurisdiction of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Cult Mechanicus is firmly implanted in Paragonian society and the Machine God is commonly venerated alongside the Cult Imperialis.

As a result, most Paragonians venerate and carry on their person both the Imperial Aquila and the Cog Mechanicum. Since the Geratomran Reconquest, the model of Paragonian society has successfully been exported to the point that the world formerly called Geratomro has been re-designated "New Paragon."

The Paragonian Year

As Paragon is but one of several natural satellites orbiting the Mater Maxima, the moon spends much of its time in the shadow of its primary, which has a considerable impact on life and the measurement of time on the moon. It is also important to note that in stark contrast to Luna, Terra's own moon, Paragon is not tidally locked with Mater Maxima and revolves on its own axis, providing a natural day/night cycle common to most worlds inhabited by Mankind.

The Paragonian year is divided into two main seasons, called "Winter" and "Glory," each roughly equivalent to the greater part of two Terran years. A full Paragonian year is thus approximately four Terran years, which explains why most Paragonians prefer to use the standard Imperial Calendar.

Glory is subdivided into several smaller sub-seasons commonly referred to as the "Glory Seasons." These are called "Growth," "Little Summer," "Second Growth," "Little Fall" and "Little Winter." This cycle repeats twice and corresponds to the time when Paragon is not hidden by the bulk of Mater Maxima and is directly exposed to the light of its yellow sun.

The last sunset for a twenty-three solar month period marks the beginning of "Long Winter", when Paragon passes into the shadow of Mater Maxima and sees no sunlight at all. While technically Long Winter is also divided into five sub-seasons, with their typical pragmatism the Paragonians have given no names to them.

As they know no sunrise during Long Winter, "daytime" or "nighttime" refers to the time where Mater Maxima's faint glow may illuminate the sky, while "Zero Night" refers to the time when the moon's surface faces the void and everything vanishes into darkness.

Geography and Culture

Paragon is a world dominated by water, in some ways similar to Old Earth. During the Glory Seasons, Paragon is an idyllic place, the abundance of water gifting the moon with an oceanic, sub-tropical to tropical climate. Water is so abundant on Paragon in this time that there are no deserts and most of Paragon's continental landmasses are marshlands and swamps given over to agriculture and herds of swamp cattle.

Large amounts of the marshlands have been drained to allow for the construction of the moon's industrial and urban sprawl. Quite similar to the cities of Gudrun, the urban settlements of Paragon like Aronis City are great cities of steel and stone. Most of their streets are in fact canals where the residents go ice-skating during the frigid months of Long Winter.

The rigours and length of Long Winter also make it necessary for the planet's infrastructure to allow its population to survive during this time. Every street is outfitted with several heated shelters to prevent cases of hypothermia, and every building is well-isolated and designed to keep the heat inside. In fact, without these measures, human life would be impossible on Paragon.

As an Industrial World, Paragon produces countless goods for the Imperium of Mankind. Its powerful economy is firmly ruled by a clan-based aristocracy, each clan specialising its economic activity in one particular sector. For instance, Clan Bannlick was devoted to the production of high-quality optical lenses and weapon targeting systems, while Clan Ganlick held a monopoly on mining across the Paragon System. There are roughly 150 different clans on Paragon, each capable of tracing their lineage back to the moon's original settlers.

Clans like the Epperaliant, Meggen, Sankello and Outlanner form Paragon's ruling aristocracy. As a mark of their status, the scions of these noble houses are allowed to precede their family name with the noble prefix of "Lo." For instance, Planetary Commander Gondannick Materiak, Paragon's current Imperial Governor, is known as Godannick Lo Materiak to indicate his noble status.

The common people of Paragon merit only the prefix "Vor," but such is the prestige of the clan name that even commoners prefer to use it instead of their birth name. For those joining the Astra Militarium, it is common to take a given name instead of the formal clan-name, especially in theatres of operation where several Paragonian regiments are deployed alongside each other.

The planet manufactures a variety of arms and vehicles for the Imperium, and is known for the proud tradition of its armoured regiments, including several super-heavy armoured companies, though paragon itself does not manufacture Imperial super-heavy armoured vehicles like the Baneblade.

An Astra Militarum officer who earns command of a super-heavy tank on Paragon is considered to have won a great honour, and such officers are allowed to use the prefix "Honoured" before their rank. So an Imperial Guard Lieutenant of the Paragonian Regiments who commands a Baneblade would use the title "Honoured Lieutenant."

Depending largely upon the knowledge of the Adeptus Mechanicus to keep their great manufactoria running at peak efficiency, Paragon boast a large presence of the Martian Priesthood who has also been entrusted with the task of keeping the great geothermal reactors and Plasma Generators that fuel Paragon's cities infused with life-sustaining energy and heat.

Values such as discipline, obedience and productivity have long defined Paragonian society, which may explain the great regard the natives of Paragon have for the Cult Mechanicus. Only the Emperor of Mankind, His Saints and His Primarchs are venerated above the Machine God.

In Paragonian society, there is nothing less honorable than falling into debt or backing out of a deal. Those unable to fulfill their contractual obligations are not incarcerated but sent to the debtors' manufactoria until their debt has been paid. The extremely taxing demands of working there usually mean that every sentence more than five Terran years is equal to a death sentence.

The most common Paragonian curse-word is Basdack, much like the Verghastite Gak or the Tanith Feth.

Duelling

Among the aristocracy, honour is all and the noble clans have a long tradition of strictly regulated duels. Every male offspring of one of the great clans is given extensive fencing lessons to defend his personal honour and protect the family name. While frowned upon by Imperial authorities and actively discouraged, the practice has never been entirely outlawed since it is firmly inscribed in the Paragonian constitution within the clause called "Codicils Regarding Rightful Duelling."

Depending on the severity of the perceived slight, honour duels may be fought with dull or sharp blades, the latter being reserved for special permit-holders and only in accordance with an extensive set of rules. Whereas most cultures would use two different weapons for this purpose, the Paragonians use only one.

Such is their mastery of metallurgy that the Paragonian artisans can create modular, self-realigning metallic molecules. This means that a simple switch placed on the pommel of a sword allows the fencer to dull or sharpen his blade at a moment's notice. Article Two of the Codicils specifically exempts both contestants from any legal liability the outcome of a duel might incur, if the contest has been properly registered at the correct bureau. Illegal duelling consists of one of the few major offences on Paragon, as it is seen as a threat to those who would duel honourably.

Gleece

One of the more interesting cultural idiosyncrasies of Paragonians is their general dislike of amasec, easily the most popular drink in the entire Imperium. Instead, the Paragonians prefer a locally-produced alcohol called gleece, a spirit distilled from the fruits of the glest tree which grows all over Paragon.

The brand is distilled to different degrees of purity, with the higher degrees of quality strictly reserved for the aristocracy. One of the reasons the Paragonians prefer gleece over amasec is that it can be served both ice-cold during Glory and steaming warm during Long Winter.

Government

Due to its strategic importance and commitment to the cause of the Imperium, Paragon is afforded a certain autonomy to administer its domestic politics as it chooses. As the system's economy is firmly in the hands of the manufacturer-clans, its government is controlled exclusively by these same clans, meaning that Paragon is effectively a plutocracy. The clans are each entitled to a representative on the Unified Clan Council which functions as a political counterweight to the executive office of the Imperial Governor.

The Governor himself cannot be appointed unless he is approved by the Clan Council. In accordance with the Paragonian Constitution, the Unified Clan Council can also depose the Imperial Governor should circumstances require it. In fact, Paragon's current Governor, Planetary Commander Gondannick Lo Materiak, has been threatened with impeachment by the council several times because of the dishonorable conduct of his brother.

In 396.M41, after yet another scandal involving the Planetary Commander's brother and the virginity of one of the daughters of a prominent member of the Unified Clan Council, the assembly charged him with fraud (a wedding contract stipulating the girl's virginity having already been ratified) and threatened to accuse Planetary Commander Lo Materiak of obstruction of justice should he choose to veto an inquiry into the matter. Ultimately, the Planetary Commander was forced to disown his own brother and send him into exile, which probably saved his life as large mobs of the offended clan's commoners had gathered to lynch him.

Notable Paragonian Clans

With roughly 150 clans and clan-names, Paragonian society is dominated by a small group of powerful individuals. As the clans are often referred to by their area of expertise, this has been added to the list where it is known.

  • Lo Bannick (the Optics-clan)
  • Lo Basteen (the Engine-clan)
  • Lo Epperaliant
  • Lo Ganlick (the Miners-clan)
  • Lo Hannick
  • Lo Kalligen
  • Lo Kism
  • Lo Meggen
  • Lo Materiak
  • Lo Outlanner
  • Lo Parrigar (the Harvester-clan)
  • Lo Rannick
  • Lo Sankello
  • Lo Turannigen
  • Lo Vand
  • Lo Vorkosigen

Notable Locations

  • Aronis City - Aronis City is the capital of Paragon and the entire system. It is the seat of the system's temporal and spiritual power and is home to the Planetary Commander's Palace and the Unified Clan Council as well as the great Basilica of Saint Honoria Dahl. Not a true hive city, Aronis City is nevertheless a megalopolis that is home to several hundred million citizens. Amongst the aristocracy, the city is particularly appreciated for its large pleasure district.
    • Gardens of the Vermillon Moon - The Gardens of the Vermillon Moon is a public garden located in Aronis City. It harbours a large collection of exotic plants imported at great cost from off-world. Most of these plants are from tropical or sub-tropical climates and would not survive the rigours of Long Winter, and so the Gardens are not established out in the open, but are, in fact, large, interlinked greenhouses. As the temperature is always thoroughly regulated, it is a very popular destination during the Long Winter as it is one of the very few places where Paragonians can enjoy the feeling of being outside without their thick fur cloaks and thermo-suits. The Gardens of the Vermillon Moon are also favoured by those wishing to engage in illegal duelling, which is why both the Night Watch and Dawn Watch patrol it regularly.
    • Revival Basilica of Saint Honoria Dahl - The famous Revival Basilica of Saint Honoria Dahl is a towering edifice in the late Cheroptidian style and is Paragon's main site of pilgrimage for those devotees following the path of Saint Ephesus. Saint Honoria Dahl was herself a third-grade sister of the venerable Saint and died a martyr on Paragon during the Age of Apostasy. The Basilica is mentioned in several pilgrims' guides, including the much-lauded Famous Pilgrimage Guide of Frater Zonecus Tufar.
  • Helwat City - Helwat City is Paragon's main spaceport. Its sizeable landing fields are large enough to accommodate the greatest dropships and shuttlecraft of the Astra Militarum. As a result, it is traditionally in Helwat City that newly-raised regiments are sent off to their warzones, an event that is always celebrated by the Paragonians. Helwat City is surrounded by thick marshlands where the common soldiers usually get their first taste of life in the Imperial military.

Canon Conflict

The Emperor's Hands Space Marines Chapter is said to originate from a world also called Paragon located in the Segmentum Solar, but there is nothing to indicate that this Space Marine Chapter Homeworld is the same planet as the one from which the Astra Militarum's Paragonian Regiments originate.

As the sources remain unclear as to whether the Paragon System lies in the Segmentum Tempestus or the Segmentum Pacificus, and the Emperor's Hands' Chapter planet was said to lie in the Segmentum Solar, it is unknown if the moon of Paragon is the same world in both cases, or whether there are two different worlds both named Paragon.

Sources

  • Baneblade (Novel) by Guy Haley
  • Shadowsword (Novel) by Guy Haley
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